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Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday 13th! Origins in Myth and Impact on Retail

So today is Friday 13th! For those who are are superstitious it's a day to avoid doing anything which might cause the chaos of calamitous disasters the days is famous for! Some people have such a fear they stay in bed - go home and lock all the doors! What impact does this have on retail sales?
It is said that Friday 13th costs retailers in the USA between $800-900 million! Are we that superstitious in the UK and if so why are we so supertitious?

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the term for people gripped with fear over Friday 13th and the
origins of Friday 13th superstitions likely come from a combination of different myths and legends throughout history.

13 generally is seen as an unlucky number with many buildings missing out 13th floors and 13th rooms, flats and house numbers. It is said if 13 people sit down to dinner one will be dead within a year! This probably stems from an old viking myth where Loki, the god of mischief gatecrashed a party of 12 gods and caused the death of one of the guests... and of course 13 guests at the last supper...Jesus was also crucified on a Friday.

There are 13 witches in a coven, although in pre Christian times 13 was seen as a sacred symbol of femininity and fertility as was Friday. 13 was viewed as a lucky number by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese too. As patriarchal religions took over Friday and the number 13 became negative as the church tried to stamp out prior pagan practices and feminine goddess worship by calling it blasphemous, and witchraft associated with the devil.

But despite all these different theories it seems that the superstition of Friday 13th being a day of bad luck is a relatively new thing starting in the 19th century...a combination of unlucky Fridays and unlucky number 13 hyped up by the media...so maybe we shouldn't worry too much, and it doesn't seem UK retailers need to worry either! We certainly won't be as we install POS promotions instore, it's just another day to us!

If you want to learn more about the origins of the myths and legend mentioned in this blog visit:

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