Miscellaneous & Offbeat



Today is Friday the 13th. Most people believe “Friday the 13th” as an ominous day. It’s a bizarre thing, but apparently true, that a substantial number of us would confess to feeling slightly anxious when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday. There is in fact a name for this phenomenon — and get ready because it’s rather a mouthful — paraskevidekatriaphobia.

ar128170187975501No-one is quite certain why people associate Friday the 13th with bad luck. While folklore historians say it’s tough to pinpoint exactly how the taboo came to be, many believe it originates from the Last Supper, and the 13 guests who sat at the table on the day before the Friday on which Lord Jesus was crucified.

But there are many other theories of how the ominous day came to be considered the harbinger of bad luck. The number 13 also holds some cultural, religious and mythical significance in history, which hints that it is a bad day.

The term paraskevidekatriaphobia was first coined in the early nineties by Dr. Donald E. Dossey, an American psychotherapist specialising in phobias and stress management, who reputedly claimed that that “when you learn to pronounce it, you’re cured!” The term is based on the Greek words paraskevi (Friday) and dekatria (thirteen) with -phobia as a suffix to indicate ‘fear’. So say it all together:  para-skev-EE-dek-a-tri-a-pho-bia.🙂

Not all cultures, however, believe Friday the 13th is unlucky. In Greek and Hispanic cultures, Tuesday the 13th is considered far more ominous. In Italy, Friday the 17th is spookier than the 13th.

Any month that starts with a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th, and there can be as many as three of them a year. For what it’s worth to believers, there is only one Friday the 13th this year and it occurs today. So whatever you are doing today, do it safely and remember the best thing about Friday the 13th – is that it’s the weekend in the Middle East and the day after is Saturday, the weekend elsewhere! Enjoy the weekend!

Event & Festival

Holi means colours and fun

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Holi is a religious spring festival celebrated in India. Holi is also known as a festival of colours. It is celebrated by throwing colours, scented powders, perfumes on others. One of Holi’s biggest customs is the loosening strictness of social structures, which normally include age, sex, status, and caste. Holi closes the wide gaps between social classes and brings Indians together. The people of every religion join in to celebrate the festival. Together, the rich and poor, women and men, enjoy each other’s presence on this joyous day. Additionally, Holi lowers the strictness of social norms. No one expects polite behavior; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement and joy.

Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. In addition to celebrating the coming of spring, Holi has even greater purposes. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colors and saying farewell to winter.

After over 5 years, I am in Ranchi during this time. Also, Babai is with us. In the morning, the people from our apartment came and assembled at the sidewalk of the parking for Holi. Jaya and I also went down. We enjoyed throwing, spreading colours, coloured powders on each other along with water. It was good that weather was nice and so we could meet, greet people with water and colours. Then we all had some sweets before returning to our house for cleaning and bathing. Cleaning our bodies of colours is a big exercise during bath. Anyway, this all adds to the fun.

If you can be recognised then you haven’t played Holi🙂

In the afternoon, I drove to the house of our ex-neighbor with Jaya and Babai for lunch. They invited us for lunch at their place. In the evening, I drove with Jaya and Babai to Doranda, where we used to stay long time back to meet and greet our old friends and again played with colours but without water. We chatted, enjoyed and dined together. The kids were playing even before returning to home after dinner!

Babai with Gaurav & Nidhi: kids are playing with colours even after dinner!

We enjoyed Holi a lot even after a gap of about 10 years with our friends in Doranda. Tomorrow is the journey day. I will return to Baghdad and Babai will return to Gangtok. I am feeling very sad for Jaya as she will be alone again at home.