IT'S the third and final Friday 13th of the year, but what superstitions are key to France?
1. AVOID CATS
In the past black cats were linked with witches and the devil and so it is still seen as unlucky when a black cat crosses your path in France. Records show that during the Middle Ages cats of all colours were so feared they were gathered together and burnt in villages and especially on Shrove Tuesday and the Fête de la Saint-Jean in June. Black cats in the UK, in contrast, bring good luck. The difference in outlook could be explained by the story that Napoleon saw a black cat before the battle of Waterloo, the outcome showing that it brought luck to the English and was a bad omen for the French.
2. DON’T CARRY CATS ACROSS WATER
It is unlucky to cross a stream with a cat in your arms and the death of a cat will be followed by the death of someone under the same roof.
3. LOOK OUT FOR SNEEZING CATS
On a positive note, if a cat sneezes near a bride on her wedding day the marriage will be a happy one.
4. AS FOR DOGS…
One French superstition, which many might feel difficult to avoid while walking in a town, is stepping in dog dirt. If the left foot is the unfortunate offender that is seemingly all right as it will bring you good luck, but if it is the right foot you are unlucky – in either case you have dog dirt on your shoe.
5. AND HORSES
Horseshoes above the door bring luck in France as in the UK, but many hang them with the points to the bottom, so that the luck and its protective powers will shower down on you.
Should you happen to be displaying you horseshoe correctly, you might consider entering this evening’s Loto.
The jackpot is a special €13 million tonight, but sales on Friday 13th increase by around 50%, so there’s more chance you might have to share. Meanwhile if you spend €13 you get entered into a separate draw to win €100,000.
As it’s bad luck to wish ‘good luck’ in the theatre, we’ll simply wish you a customary merde instead.
You can find out more about French superstitions (including why they say ‘merde’) in our November issue available for download here.