We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe.

– Oliver Wendell Holmes,  C19th US doctor and poet*

I love Friday 13ths. Both my thirtieth and thirteenth birthdays were such days and (as far as I can tell), the Imp life’s not been cursed by either.

Now, you probably all know the part-origin of this interesting superstition: that there were 13 disciples at Christ’s Last Supper….And Friday…

Why Friday?

Well, Friday’s just not a good day. Apparently. But why?! Why not make it Sunday?  Sunday must be the most hated day of the week for most people.  It pathetically wibbles, without being at all interesting, under the monstrous shadow of Monday’s loomingness, sucking all niceness into a grey vortex of psychological, anticipatory regret and workaday gloom – when you’re supposed to be relaxing! Sunday eats itself. It is the cannibal of the seven-day cycle.

But – and I suspect this toxic Seventh-Day Ambivalence may have been true for centuries, even when people worked a six-day week as the norm – to make Sunday the baddie of the week would have been seen as potentially blasphemous. Sunday 13th? Sunday couldn’t possibly be the devil’s day, could it?

The impish synaesthesiac in me loves “Friday 13th”; it’s rather savoury. Red wine and olives, perhaps a light tinge of incense. It’s heady, luxurious and cheeky, raising its teasing eyebrow in your general direction, careless of whether you’re going to join in or not.

So, in celebration of Friday 13th, will you dance?


*PS: By a bizarre coincidence, Oliver Wendell Holmes was the man who discovered the link between puerperal fever – childbed fever, where new mothers’ wombs are infected with fatal sepsis  – and the unclean hands of their physicians.  Some long-term readers will remember  last March‘s post on the campaign by Jessica’s Trust to prevent such deaths, which are, very sadly, still happening today.

The campaign has just launched a petition to 10 Downing Street, calling on the British Prime Minister to get new mums properly monitored in the hours and days after giving birth, so that child bed fever can be spotted early,and deaths prevented. You don’t have to be a UK resident to sign, but you must be a British citizen. Please, look here and add your name.  Thank you.