Friday


Friday
   The belief that Friday is an unlucky day goes back to the Middle Ages, and is widely attested. As early as 1390 Chaucer wrote 'And on a Friday fell all this mischance', and throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries there are ample references to people thinking this a bad day on which to do business, travel, move house, start a new piece of work, be born, or get married (Opie and Tatem, 1989: 167-9). This is probably an indirect consequence of the old Catholic rule that Fridays are a day for penance. It is still very strong, and has some specifically modern developments, for instance that Friday is now thought to be a day on which many road accidents occur. Similarly, if a car or machine frequently breaks down, it may be said that 'It must have been made on a Friday', though here the implication is not always superstitious; sometimes what is meant is that the workmen, eager for the weekend, were too slapdash.
   The night between Friday and Saturday is also significant. Dreams that come then are trustworthy; a current saying runs:
   Friday's dream on Saturday told
   Is bound to come true, be it never so old.
   In David Copperfield (chapter 1), Dickens says that babies born at *midnight on a Friday night are fated to be unlucky and will be able to see *ghosts; according to Ruth *Tongue, they have even wider powers:
   In the early years of this century, old people in West Somerset still firmly believed that children born after midnight on a Friday and before cockcrow could see and talk to ghosts and fairies, and come to no harm. They also had power over black witchcraft, and could cure ailing animals and plants I have found that the fact that I was myself so born has been an Open Sesame to many carefully guarded secrets. (Folklore 69 (1958), 43)
   ■ Opie and Tatem, 1989: 71, 125, 167-9.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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  • Friday — ► NOUN ▪ the day of the week before Saturday and following Thursday. ► ADVERB 1) chiefly N. Amer. on Friday. 2) (Fridays) on Fridays; each Friday. ORIGIN Old English, named after the Germanic goddess Frigga …   English terms dictionary

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