Is it lucky to get a tattoo on Friday the 13th?

Is it lucky to get a tattoo on Friday the 13th?

Are you superstitious? They say Friday the thirteenth is unlucky for some but for many tattoo enthusiasts it’s the luckiest day of the year. Yayo sent out Matt Haddon-Reichardt to get the low down on what is fast becoming one of the biggest days in the tattoo calendar.

Sabra Carson

Are you superstitious? They say Friday the thirteenth is unlucky for some but for many tattoo enthusiasts it’s the luckiest day of the year. Yayo sent out Matt Haddon-Reichardt to get the low down on what is fast becoming one of the biggest days in the tattoo calendar.

“I am not too sure who did the first Friday thirteenth tattoos, but the tradition has been promoted and kept alive by Oliver Peck an American tattooist.” Explains tattoo artist Sabra Carson.

Like many superstitions the exact origins of Friday the thirteenth being an important day for tattoo studios and their customers is evasive.

“Oliver was the first to open his doors for twenty four hours for the Friday thirteenth flash event, but even he says he knows he wasn’t the first to participate.”

Pizza tattoo

It’s a theme becoming popular in many studios on both sides of the Atlantic, offering flash designs for the bargain price of thirteen or thirty one pounds/dollars/ Euros. But while most people associate Friday the thirteenth with bad luck tattooists have turned the urban legend on its head and it is regarded as very lucky to get a tattoo on this most mythical of days.

“Yeah it’s lucky to get a tattoo on Friday the thirteenth,” laughs Sabra. “ The belief its lucky dates back quite a long time and it derives from Sailors. Sailors would get thirteens tattooed on them because the number is unlucky. So when bad luck would come across them, the bad luck would see there is already bad luck present and move on. The idea was kind of a way to scare the bad luck off!”

"Yeah it’s lucky to get a tattoo on Friday the thirteenth.” 

This double negative to make a positive has a long tradition in folk law from using the hair of the dog that bit you to heal a dog bite, to committing a minor sin to drive out a major sin or stepping on a crack twice to reverse misfortune. So far tattooing on Friday the thirteenth has brought Sabra nothing but good luck and her career is going from strength to strength.

“This will be my fifth Friday 13th event. I’ve been tattooing since late 2015 and I love my job.”

“I’m based at A Sailor’s Grave tattoo studio in Belfast which first opened its doors in 2016. The studio is owned by Lorn; a bad ass business woman, shandy lover and boss lady. She’s also, most importantly, a great friend! This studio will really show you what it means to be a family. We are all pretty young so we share a similar mindset. We are driven, we are hungry and we are eager to push ourselves to be the best we can."

"We have nine resident artists, so we cover every element of tattooing style wise; from bold bright traditional, to soft realism, to crazy anime characters, to dainty fine line. If you want heavy 20-year-old tribal covered we’ve got a man for that! We usually have a guest artist at the shop every few weeks. I love working alongside so many artists specializing in various styles, especially when we have guest artists visiting. You can learn from everyone around you, be inspired by their unique talents and take tips and advice. You always have room for improving and what better a way than to surround yourself with talent. A Sailors Grave has that vibe where everyone is welcome, everyone is equal and everyone wants to succeed and make beautiful tattoos.”

"Sailors would get thirteen’s tattooed on them because the number is unlucky."

Cloud tattoo

Not only is tattooing on Friday the thirteenth good luck it’s also good for business and Sabra is always busy when the day comes around.

“I think running the Friday the thirteenth promotion is a cool way of obtaining new customers and meeting new people so I stick with the traditional £13 tattoos, for small and simple designs. We also offer colour and shading and charge £31 which is fair considering the work and cost involved for the artist. The day is not about profit because once you take away a shop percentage and the cost of your supplies you’re maybe getting about £1.50 per tattoo; it’s more about networking, having fun and being able to participate together in something cool within the industry.”

“People go crazy for cheap tattoos! We get new customers, first-timers’ tattoos, old faithful regular clients, the whole works!"

One element of the tradition that has really taken hold is that all designs are flash rather than custom work. Sabra agrees that this is a core element of the day.

“Defiantly flash designs only. We do not allow any changes to the designs. Friday thirteenth is super busy; we really wouldn’t have the time if we had to resize, or redraw and print other designs. This year, as only four artists out of our nine are participating, we decided to make one flash sheet together. Each artist contributed a handful of designs which we can all tattoo. You choose your design, not your artist. These are all designs we can all complete in a short amount of time and have fun doing them.”

Russian Doll

Sabra is clear that while the tattoos being done of on Friday the thirteenth are a bargain you should never opt for a cheap tattoo from a cheap tattooist.

“People go crazy for cheap tattoos! We get new customers, first-timers’ tattoos, old faithful regular clients, the whole works! Everyone loves a bargain; thankfully these £13 tattoos are done in a safe, hygienic and professional environment. The price is low but the quality is high; we here so many horror stories from people coming to get work redone or covered up from getting a tattoo off a scratcher. I had one guy telling me he got a tattoo for £10 of a dragon with chicken legs at a “tattoo party” in his cousin’s kitchen! Let’s put it this way the dragon was hardly Game of Thrones quality.”

So remember people follow Sabra’s advice whether it’s Friday the thirteenth or not, always go to a fully licensed tattoo studio. And if you want your tattoo to look as fresh as the day it was made always use Yayo aftercare to heal and maintain your tattoo.  

Flower tattoo    grey alien tattoo
https://www.facebook.com/asailorsgravebelfast/
https://www.facebook.com/sabrawwr
 

A final thought from the author: "Scratcher is a derogatory term for unlicensed tattooists. Its illegal to get tattooed in the UK in unlicensed premises. Not only is it illegal its very dangerous as there is no guarantee of the health and hygiene conditions. Don't be a fool; always go to a reputable licensed tattoo studio and always use Yayo aftercare."

Yayo... its a family thing.

 

Words by Matt Haddon-Reichardt. Images by Sabra Carson.

Previous article How a sailor's tattoo saved his soul

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields