Unlucky dates

This forum is to learn about foreign cultures and habits, because language skills are not everything you need as a world citizen...

Moderator: Forum Administrators

User avatar
md0
Posts: 7649
Joined: 2010-08-08, 19:56
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Unlucky dates

Postby md0 » 2014-08-01, 19:32

In Western superstition, Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, but I thought it will be interesting to see if specific cultures have their own. I was inspired by the one that began today:

In Greek Orthodox culture, the period between 1st and 15th of August is considered unlucky. As kids, we were talk not to do anything risky those two weeks, because accidents are more common. Possibly has to do with Virgin Mary dying on the 15th. Random googling though says that August is also seen as unlucky in Brazilian, Italian and Hebrew culture.

Friday the 13th is actually known as Tuesday the 13th in Greek culture, because it rhymes better (Tuesday is "the 3rd [day]" in Greek).

Specifically in Cyprus, July is considered an unlucky month because a number of important negative events happened in July, and every new one just confirms the superstition.
On July:
-1426: Cyprus falls to the Egyptians
-1570: Cyprus falls to the Ottomans
-1821: The Archbishop of Cyprus is killed by the Ottomans to intimidate Greek nationalists (the Greek war of independence began on 1821)
-1878: Cyprus is transferred to the British Empire
-1974: The 1st President of Cyprus is deposed by a military coup - Turkey invades the island
-2002: A major peacetime military accident kills the upper echelon of the Cypriot Army.
-2011: Another major peacetime military accident kills 13, destroys the country's main power plant - coincidentally, the military base that was blown up was named after the Marshall who died in 2002 - same day too, you can imagine how that was seen as a confirmation of the superstition.

So in general, in Cyprus, we are conditioned to be wary of the time period between the 1st of June, and the 15th of August.
"If you like your clause structure, you can keep your clause structure"
Stable: Cypriot Greek (el-cy)Standard Modern Greek (el)English (en) Current: Netherlands Dutch (nl)Standard German (de)
Legacy: France French (fr)Japanese (ja)Standard Turkish (tr)Elementary Finnish (fi)

User avatar
linguoboy
Posts: 23662
Joined: 2009-08-25, 15:11
Real Name: Da
Location: Chicago
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby linguoboy » 2014-08-01, 19:39

meidei wrote:Possibly has to do with Virgin Mary dying on the 15th.

Catholics don't teach that the Virgin Mary died, just that she "completed the course of her earthly life". As a child my understanding was that she was simply sucked straight up into Heaven.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

User avatar
md0
Posts: 7649
Joined: 2010-08-08, 19:56
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby md0 » 2014-08-01, 19:47

Aha. We call that "The Sleep of Theotokos", "sleep" being the Church's preferred term for "dying", so it's pretty unambiguous that she died first, and only after that her body was teleported back to the mothership.
"If you like your clause structure, you can keep your clause structure"
Stable: Cypriot Greek (el-cy)Standard Modern Greek (el)English (en) Current: Netherlands Dutch (nl)Standard German (de)
Legacy: France French (fr)Japanese (ja)Standard Turkish (tr)Elementary Finnish (fi)

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24650
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Taipei
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)
Contact:

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-08-01, 20:07

I think Hindu astrology considers days when Saturn is visible in the sky to be inauspicious. Or at least I remember that Saturn is considered so inauspicious that there is a euphemism for 'Saturday' in Hindi/Urdu. (The word for both Saturn and Saturday is [sə̃ˈnitʃəɾ], I think, but people say [həfˈt̪a] instead; [həfˈt̪a] is the Persian loanword for 'week').

This isn't "unlucky" per se, but in Kerala, the current month in the traditional calendar ([kərˈkəɖəgə̃m]; see here) is considered to be the worst month of the year because it's typically a very rainy month (see here for more details on that calendar). This year, that month began on July 16 and will end on August 16 (today is the 16th day of that month lol).

User avatar
Varislintu
Posts: 15330
Joined: 2004-02-09, 13:32
Real Name: M.
Gender: female
Location: Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby Varislintu » 2014-08-22, 9:57

The only related thing I can think of in Finland is mätäkuu, "rot month". For hundreds of years, the rot month was even marked in calenders, from 23rd July to 23rd August. It's believed that during the rot month wounds infect, diseases spread, food goes bad, and so forth, because of the hot and humid weather. Milk goes sour right in the cows' udders.

The whole concept originates from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, something to do with celestial bodies being in a certain position. I think it was known as the "dog month" there. Then, as a consequence of a mistranslation from German to Danish, the Danish started to call it the "rot month". Swedish and Finnish followed suit. So basically it originally didn't have anything to do with rotting, but due to it coinciding with the end of summer up here, the name fit it and it became a concept.

Finns also have the concept mätäkuun juttuja, "rot month stories", to depict useless or exaggerated stories that newspapers run in the summer when nothing noteworthy otherwise happens.
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

User avatar
Marah
Posts: 3015
Joined: 2011-06-03, 17:01
Real Name: Jonathan
Gender: male
Country: FR France (France)

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby Marah » 2014-08-22, 10:16

I thought this thread would be about dating. :lol:
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

User avatar
Car
Forum Administrator
Posts: 10552
Joined: 2002-06-21, 19:24
Real Name: Silvia
Gender: female
Country: DE Germany (Deutschland)
Contact:

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby Car » 2014-08-23, 9:44

Varislintu wrote:The whole concept originates from ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, something to do with celestial bodies being in a certain position. I think it was known as the "dog month" there. Then, as a consequence of a mistranslation from German to Danish, the Danish started to call it the "rot month". Swedish and Finnish followed suit. So basically it originally didn't have anything to do with rotting, but due to it coinciding with the end of summer up here, the name fit it and it became a concept.

Actually, it's "dog days":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_days (Hundstage in German, same literal meaning as the English).

As for the stories: Isn't that just the summer slump/ silly season? That's called Sommerloch ("summer hole") in German.
Please correct my mistakes!

User avatar
loqu
Posts: 11835
Joined: 2007-08-15, 21:12
Real Name: Daniel
Gender: male
Location: Sevilla [seˈβiʝa] (Andalucía), born in Cádiz [ˈkaði]

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby loqu » 2014-08-23, 10:07

linguoboy wrote:
meidei wrote:Possibly has to do with Virgin Mary dying on the 15th.

Catholics don't teach that the Virgin Mary died, just that she "completed the course of her earthly life". As a child my understanding was that she was simply sucked straight up into Heaven.

Well, churches today have the idea a bit clearer:
Image
(Author here, image taken in Motril, Andalusia).
I still don't know if the guy in the lift is God or Jesus.
Marah wrote:I thought this thread would be about dating. :lol:

So did I :lol:

About the original topics, our unlucky day is the same as the Greek one, Tuesday the 13th, not Friday. We now know Friday the 13th thanks to American movies, but it's not as observed as the Tuesday (which isn't observed either, but people still say En trece y martes ni te cases ni te embarques, on Tuesday the 13th don't get married or ride a boat).

I don't think we have any other unlucky date.
Dir la veritat sempre és revolucionari.

User avatar
mōdgethanc
Posts: 10658
Joined: 2010-03-20, 5:27
Gender: male
Location: Toronto
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-08-23, 19:59

linguoboy wrote:Catholics don't teach that the Virgin Mary died, just that she "completed the course of her earthly life". As a child my understanding was that she was simply sucked straight up into Heaven.
Isn't this what the Assumption of Mary is all about? They certainly didn't explain it very well in Sunday school.

vijayjohn
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 24650
Joined: 2013-01-10, 8:49
Real Name: Vijay John
Gender: male
Location: Taipei
Country: TW Taiwan (臺灣)
Contact:

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-08-23, 20:10

loqu wrote:
Marah wrote:I thought this thread would be about dating. :lol:

So did I :lol:

Isn't the Romance, sexuality, and such thread already about dating? :P

User avatar
OldBoring
Language Forum Moderator
Posts: 5931
Joined: 2012-12-08, 7:19
Real Name: Francesco
Gender: male
Location: Milan
Country: IT Italy (Italia)
Contact:

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby OldBoring » 2014-09-03, 13:20

In Italy it's the Friday the 17th.

In China there's a whole calendar calculating which day is lucky, which day is unlucky, using things from I'Ching and 五运六气。But this is too complicated for the foreigner. (well even for me.)
But the "luckyness" is calculated on traditional calendars, in particular which day is suitable for marriage, for funeral, for moving home, for opening a business, etc. So the Chinese always check the calendar to decide for the suitable day when preparing to do such activities.

Koko
Posts: 5358
Joined: 2013-11-29, 6:50
Real Name: Jon Stockman
Gender: male
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Unlucky dates

Postby Koko » 2014-09-18, 0:48

In Japanese culture, any 4th or 9th day is unlucky because the number four shares its name[*] with the word for "death" (shi), and nine is agony. Any fourth or ninth day of the fourth or ninth month is even more unlucky. Thank god there's no 44th or 99th day in a month xD.

I think that they also avoid those room numbers in hotels; which makes sense since the numbers are unlucky.

[*]of course, I am not referring to the more welcomed name "yon."


Return to “Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests