Lucky Number 13
Lucky us--today is Friday the 13th. Last year at the hagwon (private English academy) we read an article in one of my classes about why the number thirteen is considered unlucky. No one really knows how the superstition got started but the book hypothesized that there were 13 people at the last supper right before Jesus died, so that's why christians consider it unlucky. There's also a Norse legend about how twelve gods were invited to some sort of dinner party (I had no idea that gods had dinner parties) but thirteen of them showed up so one of the gods, Baldr, had to be killed. I guess they're really strict about the head count at Norse dinner parties.
Anywhoo-- we had the kids write an essay summarizing why the number thirteen is unlucky. I was greatly discouraged to realize that the kids really didn't really understand the whole lesson when half the children turned in papers about how the Norse god Baldr killed Jesus. I received essays that would have given the pope and aneurysm. It was a little odd giving the kids a mini-history lesson later on, telling them that Jesus was not in fact killed by an ancient Norse god.
The number thirteen is not unluck here. No, the number four has that spot. In Korean the number four sounds like the Chinese word for death so four is sometimes represented with a big F instead. That'll keep death at bay. The color red is supposed to be unlucky as well. The kids informed me that if you write someone's name in red ink that the person will die. I had to inform them at this point that everyone dies. The must think I'm extremely wise knowing what I do about Jesus and death. I'll admit that in moments of extreme frustration I've been known to write certain students' names in red ink over and over again. I don't believe in the superstition, not even the slightest..........still.