Current Moon Phase

Waxing Gibbous
97% of full

Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Farmers’ Almanac Recommends Wearing Your Clothes Inside Out This Friday

LEWISTON, Maine — You might want to turn your clothes inside out, carry an acorn in your pocket, or sleep facing south this Friday, say the editors of the 2012 Farmers’ Almanac, when the first of three Friday the 13ths descends upon us.

According to the 195-year-old publication, 2012 is a special year, but not because of the widely publicized end of the Mayan Calendar (or the world, depending on who you ask). This year is notable because it is a leap year, contains a Blue Moon, and will bring three Friday the 13ths.

Every year contains at least one Friday the 13th, and two is not uncommon. Three is the most any year can have, but years containing three Friday the 13ths are somewhat rare. The next year to contain three Friday the 13ths will be 2015, only three years from now, but the next occurrence after that won’t be until 2026.

The 13th day of the month will fall on a Friday any time the month begins on a Sunday, and a Friday the 13th is no more or less common than any other weekday and numeric date combination. To some, however, this day and date portends disaster.

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, fear of the number 13 has been so prevalent throughout history that the Greeks even had a special word for it — “triskaidekaphobia.” Fear of Friday the 13th has an even longer name, paraskevidekatriaphobia, or sometimes friggatriskaidekaphobia.

To this day, many people believe it’s bad luck to sit at a table set for 13, a belief that may have gotten its start among the ancient Hindus. Here in the west, this idea was reinforced by the story of the Last Supper, when Jesus announced one of his 12 disciples would betray him. In many communities with numbered streets, 13th street gets skipped. Likewise, there is no 13th floor many high-rise buildings, and in many airplanes there’s no row 13. And in some towns, there are no houses with the number 13. The idea that Friday is an unlucky day of the week is less widespread. This superstition is more recent and likely stems from the tradition that says Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

Though the editors of the Farmers’ Almanac aren’t particularly superstitious — managing editor Sandi Duncan was born on a Friday the 13th and has a special affinity for the day — the 2012 edition included a list of 13 steps readers can take to improve their luck during this year’s three Friday the 13ths.

The list features advice that ranges from sleeping on unironed sheets — something most people do in the 21st Century anyway — to breaking a clear, uncolored glass, and walking in the rain. (It is unknown whether or not any alleged good luck to be gained from that last recommendation is overridden by the discomfort of walking around in wet socks.) Each item on the list comes from an old superstition or bit of folklore about actions or, in some cases, accidents (such as sneezing three times before breakfast or finding a four-leaf clover) that can improve a person’s luck.

“We try to be lighthearted in our publication, and our list of 13 ways to improve your luck is all in good fun,” said editor Peter Geiger.

“Like my favorite holiday, Halloween, Friday the 13th can be a time to focus on the spooky side of life and to remember some traditions that have been with us for a long time.”

The 2012 Farmers’ Almanac retails for $5.99, and can be accessed online at www.FarmersAlmanac.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

###

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.