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September 13, 2019
By JOYCE COMINGORE - Garden Club of Cape Coral , Cape Coral Daily Breeze


Frig is the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named, triska means three, deka means 10 (13) and phobia is the fear of, so triskaidekaphobia means fear of 13; or you could say, paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th.

If breaking a mirror, opening an umbrella indoors, walking under a ladder or having a black cat cross your path causes anxiety, even throwing spilt salt over your shoulder, a Friday the 13th phobia has kept some people indoors -- nope, they don't want to face that day. I've been in tall buildings where the elevator absolutely skips the 13th floor, there is none. Avoiding the 13th is the solution for some people, people who don't take Friday the 13th lightly. This, being the most common superstition in the U.S., you could counteract bad luck with finding a four-leaf clover, or make a wish on a falling star

Welcome, we have arrived at this year's Friday the 13th. There is at least one in every year, and can occur up to three times in one year. Not only that, but that very night gives us the full Harvest Moon. You know what that mean -- full moon, strange things happening. Don't blame me, I'm warning you now about double trouble.

The number 12 stands for completeness, 12 days of Christmas, 12 months and zodiac signs, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 tribes of Israel. In Christian tradition, 13 guests appeared at the Last Supper, Jesus and his 12 apostles, one was Judas, who betrayed him, who was number 13; 13 became unlucky.

In the late nineteenth century, Captain Wm. Fowler (1827-1897), a New Yorker, tried to remove the stigma surrounding 13 by founding the Thirteen Club. The group dined regularly on the 13th day of the month in room 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage owned by Fowler. They sat down to a 13-course dinner, but before sitting, they would pass beneath a ladder and a banner reading, in Latin, "Morituri te Salutamus," meaning "Those of us who are about to die, salute you." Four former U.S. presidents, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt, would all become members. When bad things occurred on a Friday the 13th, it is noted, and it all begins to add up, as an omen.

The moon was used as a timekeeper for ancient civilizations, different cultures assigned unique names to the full moons based on the time of year they occur. The October full moon rose closer to the start of fall, making it the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon provides the most night light at a time when it's needed, to complete the harvest. My father used it to work his crops during this peak of the harvest season, because he worked a regular day job.

Since we don't have crops to tend to, the rare full moon offers other reasons to get out there and take advantage of its brightness. The Farmer's Almanac stated that this combination is a once-in-a-20-year occurrence, the next time to see one in the U.S. will be Aug. 13, 2049. The last time a full moon and Friday the 13th happened at the same time was Oct. 13, 2000. We'll see the Harvest Moon just after midnight - at 12:33 a.m. on Saturday the 14th.

I was born right after the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and learned, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Since the trajectory of the moon around us is elliptical, not circular, this will be the smallest or mini or micro moon because it will happen at the farthest away time. It is a point in orbit which is the greatest distance from the Earth: 252,100 miles away.

For those of us who live on the east coast, we'll see the Harvest Moon after midnight, so, Friday the 13th and then a full moon makes it doubly spooky.

Trees grow skyward constantly, despite spooky days, so thank one for all they do for us.

Joyce Comingore is a Master Gardener, hibiscus enthusiast and member of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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