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Lesson Transcript

Becky: Hello and welcome to Culture Class: American Superstitions and Beliefs, Lesson 4. Friday the 13th and Knocking on Wood. Becky here.
Eric: And I'm Eric.
Becky: In this lesson you’ll learn about two common superstitions in the U.S. The first superstition is about bad luck. What are we going to talk about?
Eric: First we’re going to talk about Friday the 13th.
Becky: In the U.S., it's believed that a Friday that falls on the 13th day of any month is an unlucky day.
Eric: This is both because Fridays and the number 13 are considered unlucky by some.
Becky: Some Christians believe that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, making it unlucky. But I think most Americans don’t think of Friday as unlucky.
Eric: I’d agree. But, a lot of people believe the number 13 is unlucky. This goes back to the Last Supper where Jesus was betrayed.
Becky: Right, 13 people attended the dinner.
Eric: All together, that makes Friday the 13th an unlucky day.
Becky: Hey Eric, have you ever seen the movie Friday the 13th?
Eric: Oh, no. I hate horror movies.
Becky: Let’s now talk about something that brings good luck...
Eric: We think it’s lucky to knock on wood.
Becky: Let’s say you’re up for a big promotion at work and you’re talking about what you would do if you got it. You might say, “if I get this promotion, knock on wood…”
Eric: and then tap on the table a couple times, like you were knocking on the door.
Becky: In many cultures, protective spirits are believed to live in trees. This superstition probably comes from that.
Eric: So knocking on wood is a way to avoid tempting fate: You knock on wood to remind yourself that the future is still uncertain.
Becky: Exactly. We knock on wood when we’re talking about something that is likely to happen, but we’re still not sure.
Eric: And it doesn’t have to be wood. Just anything solid and nearby.


Becky: There you have it - two American superstitions! Are they similar to any of your country’s superstitions? Let us know in the comments!
Eric: Bye!


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EnglishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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Have you ever experienced something similar to what was explained in the lesson?

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Monday at 03:21 PM
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Hello Ivan,

Thanks for the great question!

"Tempting fate" is quite a common phrase. It means the speaker is concerned about someones end of good luck. It means they think they might be pushing their good fortune too far and it might all come crashing down....😳

Feel free to ask us any other questions you have throughout your studies.



Team EnglishClass101.com

Sunday at 04:55 PM
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I would like to ask what ''tempting fate''mean. thank you.