Many cultures and countries have superstitions surrounding the number 13, dating all the way back to the bible and possibly beyond. This has led to a fear of the number 13, which is known as triskaidekaphobia. Many fables claim Friday is the unluckiest day of the week. And although people seem to have adopted the TGIF approach to life, when Friday and 13 converge, paraskavedekatriaphobia sets in.
Instead of spending the day in fear of black cats, perhaps try to make it a fun Friday with these 13 ideas you can do with your family.
Read 13 Short Stories
You can pull out one of the kids' story books, even if your kids are too old for them. Or consider reading thirteen pages together of a book you are all interested in. If neither one of these appeal to you, pick up a story about Friday the 13th and read it together. Or find and read thirteen blogs about Friday the 13th lore with your teenagers.
Make a smorgasbord of sandwiches. Make thirteen different varieties, from ham and swiss to BLTs and cut into small triangles so everyone can get a sampling of each sandwich. Or make a giant ice cream sundae with thirteen different ingredients or flavors and eat it together.
Donate 13 Items to Charity
If you like a little generous with your fun, take time to go through the house and find items for donation to charity. Almost everyone has clothing that can be donated to Goodwill or similar foundations, see if each of you can come up with thirteen different items. Or if you have just done a sweep of the house, head to the grocery store and buy thirteen canned goods to give to a homeless shelter or church collection.
Learn 13 New Words
You can start with paraskavedekatriaphobia, which is the fear of Friday the 13th. Flip through a dictionary or thesaurus until you find a couple obscure words that no one in the family knows. Or pick a theme, such as fishing or music and look up new words related to your topic.
Take a 13 Minute Walk
It may only take you around the block, but a walk with the family can give everyone a few minutes to talk. See how far walking for thirteen minutes in one direction will take you from your house. See if you can point out thirteen of the same species of trees or anything else that you can find in your neighborhood.
Count to 13 in Another Language
Learn to count to thirteen in a foreign language. Try something that isn't taught in your area, like Polish or Swahili. Many language learning websites offer soundbites of basic words so that you can replicate the sounds instead of figuring out the pronunciations from spellings. Who knows when knowing how to say thirteen in Finnish will come in handy. It is kolmastoista, by the way.
Watch 13 YouTube Videos
You can stumble your way around checking out recent favorites, or perhaps pick a theme. Try kittens or cooking or anything your family is interested in. Or see if you can piece together a story line by watching one minute out of thirteen family DVDs. It is more difficult than you think ans will have you laughing for longer than thirteen minutes.
Make a 13 Song CD
Let everyone add their favorite songs to a mix and make a copy for every family member. Or download thirteen new songs to play at dinner. Make it harder for your musically gifted teenagers by making rules such as lyrics have to include the word blanket or must be under three minutes and thirteen seconds.
Spend $13 at a Favorite Store
If you are wanting to splash out a bit, give your kids each thirteen dollars (or pounds or euros) and see what they come up with at their favorite store. Make it a dollar store and come home with a goldmine. Make it a challenge by making sure each item starts with an F for Friday.
Take 13 Photos
Take some family photos to share with grandparents or friends. Or send each child around to take thirteen images of random things around your house. Pile all the photos together and make a small Friday the 13th album just for your family.
Pull out a world map, or a globe if you have one and see if your family can agree on thirteen countries or cities you all want to visit. Make money no object for this dream. Ask everyone why they are for or against each place. See what everyone knows about each place. And if everyone really wants to visit Spain, maybe it is time to start saving.
Cook Dinner in 13 Minutes
Gather everyone together in the kitchen and see if they can work together to get dinner on the table with in thirteen minutes. Make it realistic, such as an easy spaghetti recipe, but dole out enough tasks so that everyone has a challenge. For example, you can have one child in charge of setting the table, while the other needs to sort out a salad. Set the timer on the microwave and away you go.
Spend 13 Minutes Without Power
It's a win for teaching your children about the world's limited resources, if you can work in the conversation. It is very spooky to sit in the dark if you have everything in the house switched off. Make it fun and tell a scary story while you do it. Or make a list of thirteen things you can do towards greener living. By doing it in the dark, you will have to go over the list again and again while you count. This might just make it stick.
Mix and match these ideas to suit your family. And if none of them are a good fit, you can always snuggle down to watch Friday the 13th. Or check out a documentary on the Last Supper. Afterall they say Judas was the last guest to arrive and that is just one reason the number thirteen is considered unlucky.