Why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky?

Ready for Friday the 13th? Well, depending on where you are, August 13, 2021, is considered a lucky (or unlucky) day. But why exactly is this day often associated with good or bad luck? What is the meaning of Friday the 13th and how did this superstition even begin? Friday the 13th occurs one to three times each year. For example, 2015 had a Friday the 13th in February, March, and November, while 2017 through 2020 had two Friday the 13ths each, and the years 2021 and 2022 will both…

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The “curse” of the Wooden Man of Egeskov Castle

We are on the Danish island of Funen (Fyn), near Odense. Hidden among the dusty rafters beneath Egeskov Castle spire is a curious wooden doll. No one knows to whom it belonged, how old the doll is, how long it has been there, or how it came to be left in the dark attic of the imposing 16th-century castle. The dust-covered figure is the size of a child and has been left, as if asleep, on a old pillow. Egeskov Castle is one of 123 manor houses and castles on…

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Twelve Grapes: a New Year’s Eve tradition of scarfing down 12 grapes for good luck

When clocks strike midnight on New Year’s Eve many revelers are engaged to pop champagne, set off fireworks, or kiss their partner. Others, instead, in Spain and parts of Latin America, as midnight nears on Nochevieja, or “old night,” the last day of the year, are stuffing 12 green grapes in their mouths, as an unusual attempt to ward off bad luck in the new year. Traditionally, the camera of the main national TV channel focuses on the clock tower of the 18th-century Real Casa de Correos in Madrid’s Puerta…

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Would you like to buy a living, breathing wish-granting cat for $127,000?

Forget genies in a bottle, if you can own your very own magical cat and have all your wishes fulfilled for the modest price of 10 million rubles ($127,000)! A Novosibirsk woman recently posted a bizarre ad on Russian classified ad platform “Avito”, asking people to pay a small fortune for her pet cat, a Scottish Fold named Vincent I, or Vinsik, for friends. The woman, known only as Elena, told Russian journalists that she discovered her cat’s wish-granting powers by accident, and has since tested its effectiveness three times,…

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Adze: an insectoid source of misfortune in West Africa

As night settles in Africa, across Togo and Ghana, where the Ewe people lives, the Adze, it is said, slips through keyholes, under windows and around doors, flying to the bodies of the sleeping, appearing as mosquitos, beetles, fireflies, or simply balls of light. They prey on men and women, but especially enjoy the blood of children. For centuries, the Ewe people of West Africa have lived in fear of these creatures. According to the legend, there’s no potion, spell, or weapon that can ward one off, and no cure…

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Nekobiyaka: the world’s only black cat cafe

The Japanese castle town of Himeji is home to the only known black cat café in the world, Nekobiyaka, where you can enjoy a refreshing drink in the company of about a dozen felines, strictly black! Despite there are hundreds of cat cafes all over Japan, (including the one located in Tokyo’s district of Akihabara), but only one dedicated exclusively to black cats. Nekobiyaka opened in 2013 and has since become somewhat of a tourist attraction in Himeji. The owner, Ms. Yagi, came up with idea of a black cat…

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Kejonuma Leisure Land: a quaint amusement park that now lays rusting and forgotten among the foliage.

We are in Ōsaki, in Japan’s remote Tohoku region, where an abandoned amusement park rests upon the banks of the Kejonuma Dam. Once known as Kejonuma Leisure Land, the park was originally built in 1979 in an effort to bring joy back to the community after the ravages of World War II. In its heyday the amusement park, with a campsite and driving range, boasted up to 200,000 visitors and offered an assortment of rides, including a Ferris wheel, tea cup ride, miniature train ride and carousel. In addition, the…

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Vrykolakas: the greek bloodless Vampire.

The “undead dead” have always been an interesting aspect of global folklore. Many cultures seem to have at least a few popular creatures or mythic beings that are near to a Vampire. However, each culture seems to have its own “version” on the common creature. I didn’t know the Greek Vrykolakas, whose journey from human to vampire, and their life afterwards, is really interesting. While most vampire legends tend to involve drinking human blood as part of the mythos, in Greece, it does not. A person doesn’t become a Vrykolakas…

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3# From the bathtub to the table: Christmas Eve Carp!

There are many ways to ensure your meal is fresh: first, you can grow it yourself, or you can buy it directly from the farm. Or you can take it home alive and let it swim in your bathtub! The latter method is a Christmas Eve carp tradition in Slovakia, Poland, and Czech Republic. For centuries, families throughout much of central Europe have relied on one simple main course for Christmas Eve dinner: the common carp, a symbol of good luck and classic meat-free meal for Christians. Strong Catholic traditions…

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Naples, Italy: in November the first Black Cat Museum opens.

Who does not remember “Tournée Du Chat Noir”, one of the most famous nineteenth century posters that advertised the Parisian coffee house of the same name? Even today the poster created by the Swiss-born artist Theophile Steiner runs in the form of posters in the homes of some people and is depict on many souvenirs like magnets or postcards, bags, and not only in French Capital. The success of the poster and its passage through the centuries is largely due to the magnetism of the feline, which in its darker…

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Friday 17th. Why in italy is a day of bad luck?

Have you heard of the unlucky nature of the number 13? Especially when it falls on a Friday, and this in some parts of the world. But in Italy is especially the number 17 is avoided and feared. Even familiarly irrational things like skipping the number on airplane rows, hotel rooms or street addresses are common, on cases most eccentric. Friday the 17th is a national day of bad luck…but are you sure to find an Italian who can coherently explain their motivation for avoiding travel and important events or…

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