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).
So while historians continue to ponder what might be biblical, possibly violent, or even simple mathematical reasoning behind the Western aversion to Friday the 13th, those of us interested in tattoos can look to the recent past, To learn about tattoos and how tattoos actually happen. The 13th became synonymous.
Unlucky 13:Friday the 13th is here: What you need to know about the day many consider unlucky
What day is Friday the 13th?
In Western culture, Friday the 13th is associated with misfortune. In the Gregorian calendar, the 13th of each month falls on a Friday at least once a year, although it sometimes occurs three times a year.
As with many superstitions and traditions, it is difficult to determine the exact origins of this belief. Some historians suggest that the number 13 originally became an “unlucky” number due to biblical references. For example, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ, was the 13th guest at the Last Supper.
In the Bible, Christ was also crucified on Friday, linking this day with disaster. Another theory dates back to 1307, when the King of France ordered the arrest of hundreds of Templars on Friday the 13th, who were later executed.
Regardless of how it began, the number 13 has been synonymous with bad omen in Western culture for many years. Of course, the classic horror movie franchise starring Michael Myers hasn’t done much since the 1980s.
What day is Friday the 13th?Why do people become superstitious about this day?
Why is Friday the 13th associated with tattoos?
Friday the 13th has become Black Friday for tattoo shops. Many shops will run special promotions, charging heavily discounted prices to get the job done, often charging a flat rate or even less than the shop minimum (the minimum a shop typically charges for a tattoo to cover the cost of basic supplies and overhead).
The average hourly price charged by most artists is over $100 to $200, making these flash sales a great deal. While affordable pre-designed glitter tattoos and flash sales aren’t uncommon the rest of the year, Friday the 13th is a day when you can find tons of marked-down items at multiple stores near you.
Pick a shop, walk in without an appointment, choose an interesting design, and sit down to pick out a relatively short and simple piece that costs far less than usual, which appeals to a lot of tattooers and novices alike.
People with many tattoos use the day as a quick and affordable way to fill small gaps in their sleeves or add to their collections in between larger projects, while people new to tattoos can walk in and browse through what is essentially a pre- Planned new experiences. Of course, there is always the added benefit of having something that has become a good luck charm, countering the bad moods that the number 13 obviously brings.
While some businesses see the day as an opportunity to network, bring more people in, and get more attention to their work, other artists choose not to participate because they feel low wages and long hours result in their labor being massively undervalued Produce cheap, unoriginal reproductions of art
How did the tradition of Friday the 13th tattoos begin?
The modern model for Friday the 13th as a tattoo holiday is often attributed to Oliver Peck, co-owner of Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas, who you may recognize from the TV show “Ink Master” and his short-lived marriage to Kat Von D. was removed from the show due to the blackface controversy).
Peck previously told Vice that he was “definitely not the first person to do this,” and said he drew some inspiration from artist Dave Lum’s Halloween special, but he did “make it an activity.” In 1995, he hosted his first major event at the Pair O’ Dice in Dallas, the Friday the 13th event, a marathon in which as many people as possible were tattooed with the number “13” in 24 hours ”.
He and his colleagues started holding these 24-hour tattoo marathons every year, and at one point they were in the Guinness Book of World Records for having 415 people tattoo the number 13 in 24 hours. Friday, June 13, 2008. While many tattoos done to this day still feature numbers somewhere in the design, this is far from mandatory, and many artists and shops have now branched out into different themes.
However, the unfortunate 13 tattoo designs and tattoo designs have been around since the 1990s. Before thick ink became associated with rock musicians or criminals in the United States, it originally conjured up images of sailors, who were known to adorn their skin starting in the 18th century.
After seeing the customs of the native peoples of other continents and countries they sailed to, sailors fell in love with this cultural practice and brought news and demonstrations of it back to the Western world. While the actual tradition of tattooing dates back to before the 18th century, it was around this time that sailors and ink became closely associated.
Presumably, these so-called superstitious sailors were aware of the unlucky nature of the number 13 and, in some form of tattoo reverse psychology, etched the number into their skin as a means of staving off bad luck.
What you need to know if you want to get a tattoo on Friday the 13th
Be ready and waiting: Most tattoo shops offering Friday the 13th deals are walk-in for the day, meaning you can’t make an appointment in advance. You may have to wait in line when you arrive, so be prepared.
Getting ready to choose a design: Tattoos offered as part of Friday the 13th events are usually pre-designed and placed on what’s called a flash sheet, or a set of relatively simple and smaller images that you can choose from. Typically, these designs are in a traditional or neo-traditional style – think Sailor Jerry – and feature the day’s theme as the number “13” somewhere in the sketch.
Choose the right location: Once you’re there, it’s as simple as picking a design off paper and waiting your turn. Typically, these deals are only available for arm or leg tattoos and come in sizes ranging from a quarter dollar to the inside of the palm. Some shops also participate in a “get your choice” style game, where you pull up a number or insert a coin into a gumball-style machine and commit to getting the tattoo of your choice.
Expect it to be crowded: Tattoo shops can be crowded with artists working quickly on the day, so don’t expect a private workstation or spend a lot of time talking to the artist. Due to the simplicity and small size of the pieces, your session is likely to be quick, lasting about 10 minutes to half an hour.
Wear appropriate clothing: Some stores see thousands of customers on Friday the 13th, so be prepared to be efficient if you want to be one of their favorite customers that day. Make sure you are wearing clothing that allows easy access to the area you want to tattoo, that your body is well hydrated, your stomach is full, and your skin is clean and bathed.
Be prepared when it’s your turn: Expect to wait, but also be prepared to choose your tattoo and tell the artist what you want when you sit down. Check ahead of time which payment method the store prefers; while many artists accept services like Venmo, some businesses may have different payment instructions during this busy day.
Pro Tip: Tips! Finally, the top rule is tip! While you should always tip the person you tattoo, keep in mind that on this day they will see more clients than usual and the prices are much cheaper than usual. Because of this, some tattoo artists find this tradition stressful, so a healthy tip is a great way to show appreciation for their hard work.