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What Do Greeks Have Against Tuesday the 13th?

Tuesday the 13th
The fall of the capital of the Byzantine Empire on Tuesday, April 13, 1204, to the Fourth Crusade was a bleak day for Hellenism. Illustration: Greek Reporter

Like the Anglo-Saxons consider Friday the 13th a bad luck day, Greeks have branded Tuesday the 13th as a day you’d rather stay home and avoid everything that might cause an accident.

The main reason Tuesday the 13th is not a very popular day has to do with Christian Orthodoxy and is linked to the fall of Constantinople on that fateful date.

Constantinople falls on Tuesday the 13th

The fall of the capital of the Byzantine Empire on Tuesday, April 13, 1204 to the Fourth Crusade was a bleak day for Hellenism.

However, Tuesday May 29, 1453, was even worse, as Constantinople fell again, this time to the Ottoman Empire, followed by almost four hundred years of Ottoman rule across Greece and the subsequent loss of all Greek territories in Asia Minor.

Where does the thirteen come from on Tuesday, May 29? Just add the numbers of the year 1+4+5+3 for the full sum of 13.

However, there are other reasons Greeks disliked the number thirteen long before Constantinople and Byzantium.

Thirteen is a number that follows the perfection of the number twelve. In addition, the gods of Olympus were twelve, there are twelve months in a year, twelve hours in a day, twelve hours of the night, twelve labors of Hercules, and twelve signs of the zodiac.

Philip II of Macedonia offended the twelve gods and died right after he erected his statue next to the twelve gods.

As for Christian Greeks, the number twelve represents the number of the apostles who spread the word of Christ. Also, the 13th chapter of Revelation speaks of the coming of the Antichrist.

Finally, superstitious Greeks dislike Tuesday because, in Greek, Tuesday is Triti, meaning Third, the third day of the week. Since bad luck comes in threes, there’s not much to like about Triti, or Tuesday.

Furthermore, according to astrology, Tuesdays are dominated by Mars, the belligerent god of war.

Greek superstitions

The Anglo-Saxon culture that has heavily influenced the country through movies, television, and the internet in the past decades has brought Friday the 13th to the forefront, as well.

Let’s not forget that Black Friday has now become a fixture in the Greek consumer consciousness, so it’s no surprise that Friday the 13th has acquired such significance, too.

Greeks have several superstitions and believe that if they come across certain things, the rest of the day—or even year, in fact—may be full of bad luck.

For instance, the biggest Greek superstition must be “To Mati,” or the Evil Eye as otherwise known. Some Greeks feel that they are under the spell of the evil eye if they are either too beautiful or too rich.

Regardless of the category to which one belongs, some Greeks run to the “Xematiastra,” the woman who knows how to remove the evil eye from the purported victim.

Broken mirrors freak Greeks out as they are also said to bring seven years of bad luck. If a mirror breaks inside a family home, some may even want to pack up and move out immediately.

This is because many believe that a mirror does not only reflect the image of a person but their soul inside, as well.

No Greek wants to walk under a ladder. Most Westerners have the same superstition, but in Greece, there is an added twist.

For Greek Orthodox Christians, the ladder forms a triangle when it is put against the wall and if you walk underneath it, that is a sign of disrespect for the Holy Trinity.

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