With Halloween on the way, I have been dipping into the completely excellent Penguin Guide To the Superstitions of Britain & Ireland. It's addictive stuff!
I've got a Ghosts of the Old City Tour coming up on Saturday 13th October, and so I flipped through to the entry about "unlucky 13"…
Written records of Friday – that's any and every Friday – being considered the unluckiest day of the week have been around for much longer than the notion that Friday 13th is the unluckiest day of all.
The superstition that 13 is the unlucky number stirs great passions when its origins are discussed.
Written records of the superstition go back only as far as the 19th century, but the popular belief is that it dates back to the number who sat down to the Last Supper (including Judas Iscariot). In the disputed origins of why Friday 13th is considered to be unlucky, some contend that the superstition begins with the Knights Templar. On Friday 13th 1307, scores of French Knights Templar were arrested on the order of King Phillip V of France and subsequently tortured into confessions of heresy. Execution duly followed.
Traveling show folk were reluctant to open fairs on Friday and some domestic servants believed that starting a new situation on a Friday would bring bad luck.
There are particular superstitions around the cutting of hair and nails. This one suggests that not only is Friday no good for nail cutting, but that a haircut on Sunday will bring ill fortune…
Friday cut and Sunday shorn
Better never have been born
Here in London, at the Savoy Grill, no table is ever set for 13 diners. Parties of 13 are treated to the company of Kaspar, the Savoy’s three-foot high alabaster cat – he is given a full place setting to stave off bad luck.
My Public Scheduled Tours for the London Walks company in October 2018
Tours costs £10 per person, £8 for students & seniors - pay on the night or book now by clicking the street sign icons below…
Ghosts of the Old City – 7.30pm St Paul's tube
Tuesdays 2nd, 9th & 30th
Saturdays 6th, 13th & 27th
Ghosts of the Old City with London Walks - meet at St Paul's Tube 7.30pm
Rock'n'Roll Pub Walk with LIVE Music – 7pm Tottenham Court Road tube (exit 1)
Wednesdays 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st October
Rock'n'Roll London – 2:00pm Tottenham Court Road tube (exit 1)
Fridays 5th & 12th October 2018
The Unknown East End – 2:00pm Whitechapel tube
Sunday 7th & 28th October 2018
Hidden London – 11:00am Monument tube (Fish Street Hill exit)
Monday 8th & Friday 12th October 2018
Old Kensington – 2:00pm High Street Kensington tube
A Village in Piccadilly – 2:30pm Piccadilly Circus Tube (by Eros)
Monday 15th October October 2018
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