In Italy, Friday, the 17th = Friday, the 13th for Americans

Updated 2018.

I don’t really understand how the number “17” can be considered unlucky but then again, I was born on the 17th day of August, so I’m partial to thinking highly of the number. I almost forgot the significance of Friday, the 17th, to Italians, until this report from the Associated Press reminded me. Here are some of the highlights:

The 17th in Italy is the equivalent of that bad luck day known to many cultures, and it is accompanied by the usual superstitions. Curve No. 17 on the treacherous Olympic bobsled track in Cesana is the only turn without a nickname for that reason.

In Roman numerals, the number 17 spells out XVII, but an anagram of those letters reads “VIXI,” which in Latin means “I lived” or — less literally — “I’m dead.”

This convoluted play on numbers and words, coupled with the fact that Friday is believed to have been the day of Jesus’ Passion, gave birth to the superstition.