Friday the 13th tattoos: The unlucky tradition


Friday the 13th tattoos are a popular tradition that is practiced nationwide. Every time the 13th falls on a Friday, tattoo parlors open their doors to $13 tattoos that display the number 13.

Many tattoo artists find beauty in what others perceive as dark or evil. The day is actually viewed as “lucky” to a majority of these artists.

“This is the second year our shop has been doing it and we charge $31 instead of $13, we have a sheet that you can choose from,” Tommy Montoya from Klockwork Tattoo said. “You can either choose one of our artist made ones, or bring your own design of a small tattoo.”

Tattoo parlors that participate offer a select amount of tattoos that display the number 13 that are custom from the artist.

The number 13 is known to be an unlucky number, as many western cultures associate it with bad luck. On the internationally adopted Gregorian Calendar, Friday the 13th will occur at least once and no more than three times during a calendar year.

Nevertheless, many eastern cultures see this day as good luck and fortuitous. In Israel, 13 is the age when a boy becomes a man, and is initiated into the adult Jewish community. In Chinese cultures, 13 is the number of blood, fertility and lunar potency.

The superstition surrounding the number 13 is seen in many different cultures. One popular myth from Nordic legend, Loki the Norse god of mischief, was said to be the 13th attendee of a party he was not invited to, resulting in the death of another Norse god, Baldr.

Others believe the number to be connected to Biblical times, where the 12 disciples joined Jesus for the last supper. Judas, the 13th guest, betrayed Jesus which resulted in his crucifixion on a Friday.

Many high story buildings do not even credit the 13th floor, the Tarot card bearing the Roman Numbers XIII symbolize death and having 13 members at a table is said to have serious misfortune. The fear of Friday the 13th actually has a name: paraskavedekatriaphobia.

This year, Friday the 13th occurs in October, which means the tradition will be more popular than ever.

Danny Vega, Psychology major, plans to get a tattoo in East Los Angeles this year.

“There’s a shop in East L.A., shop of my friends, you throw a ball up, and wherever it lands is the tattoo you get,” Vega said. “$10 and $3 for tip.”

Many get the small tattoos to be a part of the tradition and to have the memory that they participated.

Shelby Wagner, English major, participated in the tradition in May of 2016.

“It’s a small dagger drawing blood on my ribs,” Wagner said. “I got it because it’s a tradition. There’s not much more to it than that in all honesty. I love tattoos and I feel that everyone who is like-minded appreciates that it’s just something fun to do.”

However, the belief is not always shared that a Friday the 13th tattoo is worth it, as some think a tattoo should have more meaning than participation in a tradition.

“It’s going to be on your body for a long time,” Victor Tsogt, kinesiology major, said, who was cautious about the idea.

Whether a tattoo is done for the tradition or not, the memory and ink of a tattoo will be permanent, and hopefully a lucky Friday the 13th experience.

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