Sunday, January 15

English Vocabulary - Superstition

A superstition is a popular belief that is not based on science or actual facts. A person simply believes that something brings good or bad luck.

Fear of the number thirteen is so strong around the world that many tall buildings do not have a thirteenth floor and many airports do not have a gate numbered thirteen, either! having fear of the number thirteen is called triskaidekaphobia.


Some experts believe that fears surrounding this number may be connected with ancient folklore and religious tales.

One Norse myth is about twelve gods who were having a party in their heaven, Valhalla. Loki, the god of evil and disorder, arrived at the dinner party uninvited. He became the thirteenth person at the table. Loki then helped cause the death of Balder, the god of joy.

In the Christian book, the Bible, Judas is the thirteenth guest at the dinner called the Last Supper. Judas is the man who betrayed Jesus, and his betrayal led to Jesus's death.

People around the world are superstitious about the number thirteen, and many people around the world also consider Fridays that fall on the thirteenth day of a month to be particularly unlucky.

Thomas Fernsler is an associate policy scientist at the University of Delaware in Newark. He is also known as “Doctor 13” because of his interest in this famous number. He says numerology shows that thirteen suffers because of its position next to the “complete” number twelve. He notes there are many sets of twelve, such as twelve months in the year and twelve signs of the zodiac. Mister Fernsler says thirteen is one more than twelve which makes it what he calls a “restless” number.

Thomas Fernsler can tell you many interesting facts about the number thirteen. He can tell you that if February has a Friday the thirteenth in a non-leap year, March and November will also have Friday the thirteenths. Mister Fernsler can also tell you many examples of good and bad events that have taken place throughout history on Friday the thirteenth. This year we can look forward (or perhaps not) to two more Friday the thirteenth's, in the months of April and June.

Are you superstitious, or not? Click on the link below to do a lesson about Friday the thirteenth superstitions, and practise your English.

Popular Superstitions Around The World - Friday The Thirteenth >>



Text source: VOA