Friday, 13 January 2012

Sarah's Fun Fact Friday!! Lucky or Unlucky??

Welcome to this week's Sarah's Fun Fact Friday - complete with a bit of practical advice!

So, days are getting shorter and London is, well, freezing right now. As the La Nina weather front takes its toll on confusing climates everywhere (thank you BBC World News for that tidbit - it was the only English speaking channel in Russia!), we are left hoping that if we couldn't have a cold Christmas, then at least that should mean we get a really good summer - right? Fingers crossed!

This week's facts range from how January came about to start our year, how lucky or unlucky is today's date and staying healthy. Let's get started!

We can't go much further without acknowledging the date - Friday the 13th.....but is it lucky or unlucky?

If you see Friday the 13th as unlucky or even have a fear of it (also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia)  have you ever considered why? 

According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a "Friday the 13th" superstition before the 19th century. One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day. Now, as I was born on the 13th and Friday is my favourite day of the week I can't really agree with this - but then, I don't find Friday the 13th unlucky.

However, in numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve Apostles of Jesus, etc. whereas the number 13 was considered irregular! 

Friday got its title as the 'unlucky' day as that was the day Jesus was crucified....more recently 'Black Friday' has been associated with stock market crashes and journeys that start on a Friday being more troublesome than those starting earlier in the week.

In Spanish speaking countries they actually find Tuesday the 13th the 'unlucky date' as Tuesday is considered dominated by the influence of Ares (Mars) the god of war. 

In English speaking countries it is estimated over 25 million people are affected by a fear of Friday the 13th. that makes it the most feared day and date in history!!!! Some people go as far as not taking flights, travelling or even getting out of bed on this day ...this has cost businesses up to $900 million in lost business. Crazy!

January was established as the first month of the year by the Roman calendar. It was named after the Roman god Janus, which is the Latin word meaning door - he had two faces, which allowed him to look back into the old year and forward into the new at the same time. He was the spirit of the 'opening', or 'new beginnings'. 

Back in the day (and still today, in some parts of Scotland) the tradition of 'first-footing' happens on New Years, which is meant to bring good luck to those who take part. As soon as midnight passed and January the 1st started, people would wait behind a door for a dark-haired person carrying a piece of coal, some bread, some money and greenery.  Coal - so the house would always be warm, bread - so everyone in the house would have food to eat, money - so that there would be enough (you guessed it!) money in the house, and greenery - to ensure a long life. 

To finish the ritual, the person would then take out with them a pan of dust or ashes to signify the old year departing. Seems a bit more complicated than most New Years traditions - from my experience, New Years Eve is not a time for door knocking, unless you've forgotten your keys! 

Once you've made it passed New Years, you run straight into the unluckiest day of the year (perhaps because we no longer do first-footing). The 2nd of January has been unlucky since the Saxon times - according to them, anyone born on that day could expect to die an unpleasant death. (Wow, that got dark quickly!)

I shall leave you on a happier note that should continue to keep you alive and kicking....

Here are a few health tips anyone can implement into their life starting today to get them on the right track toward living a healthy lifestyle:

1. Move your body. Every single day. Even if it is for 10 minutes at a time. Dancing in your living room to your favourite music for 10 minutes here and there can really make a difference when done consistently. The secret is to build small segments of movement into your day rather than stressing out over not being able to get to the gym to do a "work out" for an hour. Small steps over time lead up to a long journey! We bought a Wii for Christmas so 'Lets Dance' will be our movement of choice - or Zumba...we LOVE it!
2. Healthy eating. Simple, small changes can lead to big results in this department. Portion control is a huge factor here, as healthy eating has more to do with how much you eat at one sitting vs. what you eat. Ever notice the way cats graze throughout the day? Humans are designed to graze, too, eating small meals 6-10 times throughout the day. Doing this keeps blood sugar levels steady and minds alert and is a cornerstone of healthy eating.
3. Sleep. A good night's sleep is imperative to help your body fight its battles throughout the day. Also, not watching television or being on the computer right before bed can help you sleep better through the night. Instead of exposing your brain to all that light and stimulation right before lights out, read a magazine or a few pages in a book before hitting the pillow. (We should really follow this one more...)
4. Spend time with friends. Having a social life can be the most important element of healthy living. Healthy living depends upon many factors including our primary relationships with loved ones, family, and friends. We love this tip!

I hope you've enjoyed this Friday the 13th special of SFFF!! Do you have any more health tips to add?

Until next time, Sarah  xoxo

If you've enjoyed this read and want a few more facts check out my other SFFF HERE!

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