How Friday the 13th and tattoos are inseparable in America


Friday the 13th may be an unlucky day by many superstitious standards, but it has become a lucrative day in the ink industry.

Like pumpkins for Halloween and turkeys for Thanksgiving, tattoos have become symbols of the day in America that would otherwise be associated with bad omens, avoiding black cats or breaking mirrors. Like any folk wisdom, tracing the origins behind the unlucky number 13, and more specifically Friday the 13th, is difficult. Likewise, the proliferation of cheap ink traditions is tinged with mystery and uncertainty.

In other words, the act of warding off bad luck by decorating one’s body with “13” patterns or other artwork is a much newer cultural phenomenon than triskaidekaphobia (or the fear of the number 13).

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