BEWARE those in Spain of the ominous date of Tuesday the 13th because in Spanish culture this is the equivalent of the UK’s Friday the 13th, bringing with it the usual superstition of bad luck.
Although Friday is more traditionally regarded as a day to beware, the Spanish regard Tuesday with far greater suspicion.
The exact origins of fear towards either day remain unclear but several theories have been put forward.
Firstly, Tuesdays were seen as being dominated by the influence of Mars, the god of war, as etymologically ‘martes‘ stems from his name.
The superstition is also strengthened by historical events such as the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade on Tuesday April 13 1204 and its fall to the Ottomans on Tuesday May 29 1453.
There is even a saying that goes ‘en Martes ni te cases ni te embarques ni de tu casa te apartes’, meaning ‘don’t marry, go on a boat, or leave your house on Tuesday’.
Just as reoccurring patterns have this day of the week unpopular, the same has happened with the number 13.
The Western world commonly regards the number 13 as an unlucky one, to the point where hotels often omit it from room doors and floor numbers while some airlines do the same with aisle numbers.
There were 13 guests invited to dinner in Valhalla and Loki, seen as the Viking god mischief and chaos or as the god of evil and spirit of death (depending on which scholar you ask), was its 13th guest.
This parallels of course with Jesus Christ’s last supper in which Judas was the 13th guest and was responsible for betraying Christ, enabling his crucifixion.
For some it goes beyond superstition and becomes a real phobia called ‘Trezidavomartiofobia’ (fear of Tuesday the 13th), which leads to an uncontrollable fear that causes the sufferer to attempt to spend the day at home and avoid contact with others.
So for the love of all that is good and holy, take care on this cursed day and make sure not to go on any boats.
This article by Jacqueline Fanchini was first published by the Olive Press in January 2015