So, economic convenience, together with the proximity of the weekend, makes this day, at least in principle, a good choice. Furthermore, if spouses plan to organize their honeymoon after the ceremony, thanks to the proximity to the weekend, they may save days of work leave since Saturday and Sunday are generally days in which people are free from work. Indeed, someone ignorant of the relevant superstitions might have expected Friday to have a greater appeal.
In all of the Italian regions, the number 17 is considered unlucky. In particular, Federici reported that the deterrent effect was widespread in all of regions, with the strongest effect produced in Central Italy.
In Fig. Heptadecaphobia seems to be diffused to the same extent in all macro-areas. Federici declared that she was surprised that Southern Italy, which is usually seen as more traditionalist than the North, did not stand out and perhaps was even less superstitious in this respect. Italy and macro-areas, — This day is the Italian equivalent of the Anglo-Saxon Friday the 13th: it is, in other terms, the day that, according to superstition, must be absolutely avoided. Footnote 10 We were, likewise, not able to produce a table that distinguished the types of rite religious or civil chosen by spouses.
In general, the frequencies calculated for each Friday are lower than the daily average of the respective month. However, in the case of Friday the 17th, a further depressive effect is evident.
It is worth noting that, in the case of marriages celebrated in April , 10 April is Good Friday. This is a unique case in which a Friday that is not the 17th of the month has the lowest frequency. Our results are worth comparing with those obtained by the Euro-barometer survey on the attitudes of Europeans towards scientific progress.
Footnote As further evidence of the surprising diffusion of superstitions in Northern-Central Italy with respect to Southern Italy, we used Google Trend to investigate how often Italians consult online horoscopes. Torgler suggested that the habit of consulting horoscopes may be indicative of a tendency to believe in a sort of institutionalized superstition that, however, has no scientific basis. Google Trend allows us to compare the popularity of search terms on Google.
In particular, it offers an index of popularity, which is calculated by dividing the number of searches that include the query term defined by the User by the total number of online search queries submitted during a period defined by the User.
This result is then normalized so that its maximum value over the period is set equal to , and the rest of the series is scaled appropriately, obtaining the so-called popularity index. Normalization using the total number of searches allows us to neutralize geographical differences in terms of web access across Italian regions.
Unfortunately, this is the only way in which Google Trend data can be exploited by users: for instance, Google Trend does not furnish the actual number of searches and, thus, it does not allow us to compare interest between different topics. To at least partly avoid the influence of Internet availability on our results, we limited the period of observation from January to January The results are reported in Fig.
Again, it is surprising to see that one Northern region Lombardy and one Central region Latium are the most assiduous in consulting horoscopes. Furthermore, when cities are considered, the first five positions in the popularity rank for horoscopes are as follows: Milan, with a popularity index pop. Obviously, it is impossible to establish whether those who consult the horoscope make different daily decisions as a result. In the case of marriages, it is difficult to reconcile other possible explanations for avoiding ceremonies on the 17th which in principle is as good as any other day in the month.
However, in the case of horoscopes, even if suggestive, this is a further descriptive element to add to the overall picture showing that despite the North—South economic gradient, beliefs in mysterious forces luck, cosmic influence, etc.
Referring to Lent dispositions, Federici noted that, in , the daily average of weddings during Easter week stood at 77 in Italy , if we consider the whole of Lent , against a daily mean of marriages for the year. Furthermore, an explosion in the number of marriages was observed during the week immediately following Easter week daily average of the week marriages.
Thus, we seem to see here weddings that were postponed so as not to violate the Lenten ban. In regard to territorial differences, Federici also reported that the Lenten ban was strongly respected across the country and that North Eastern Italy had the strongest adherence to this religious norm. Recent work carried out by Ruiu and Breschi shows that Lenten dispositions are still responsible for fluctuations in the number of marriages celebrated in April in Italy.
In particular, they use data, from the creation of the Italian state in to the present day, and exploit the variability in the number of Lent days falling in April in each year. They show that there is a strong and significant correlation, even in recent times, between the oscillations on April Lent days and the de-trended number of marriages celebrated in this month. Unfortunately, their analysis was based on data aggregated at the regional level and, therefore, they were not able to analyse the tendency with respect to the Lenten rule in function of the socio-demographic characteristics of the spouses.
In particular, in Fig. We do not have this data for the period analysed by Federici. However, in , It can be safely assumed, then that almost all marriages were celebrated in church. We also want to stress that, since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has relaxed the constraints on celebrating Lenten marriages. In particular, the ban on the solemnization of marriages has been substituted by a milder recommendation for sobriety in any celebrations in what is, after all, a period of penance.
Here, too, we can conclude that very little has changed from the situation described by Federici. It is, also, worth noting that the recovery in the number of marriages in the week immediately following Easter is still evident. Thus people are still likely to postpone marriages, rather than let them be celebrated in Easter week. In the previous section, we looked at the effects of both superstitions and religious beliefs on the timing of marriages in Italy.
In this section, our aim is, first of all, to give a descriptive picture, in terms of socio-economic characteristics, to those whom, in —, opted for a religious marriage. Then, we will focus on the choice of getting married in Lent. One might surmise that those aspects that favour the choice of the religious rite are negatively correlated with the choice of violating Lent: i. If this is so, then, we have, in our opinion, an insight that the choice of the religious rite reflects an adherence to religious beliefs and not a choice about respecting the tradition of marrying in the church.
In particular, in column a , we report the results of a logistic regression, where the dependent variable is a dummy that is equal to one when a marriage has been celebrated with the religious rite obviously, it is equal to 0 in the case of civil marriage : the regressors are, meanwhile, a set of socio-demographic characteristics of the spouses occupational status, educational level, age, nationality and previous civil status , in addition to the year and province fixed effects.
In column b , we reported the results of a linear probability model LPM estimated with the same left- and right-hand side variables. We are aware that given the dichotomous nature of our dependent variable this is not the most appropriate model. However, we also furnish the results of this estimation to ensure that our results do not depend on the assumption made on the link function in the logistic model.
The names of the variables included in the r. Unsurprisingly, the age of the spouses is negatively related to the probability of marrying with the religious rite.
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However, this is probably not because young people are more religious than older people. This effect is probably due to the fact that the younger the spouses, then the more likely they are to want to make their marriage an event that they will remember for the rest of their lives. In the vast majority of cases, getting married with the civil rite in Italy implies marrying in an anonymous office in the town hall: a religious ceremony means marrying in a church, possibly a cathedral, often, in Italy, a building of striking beauty. Therefore, younger couples are more likely to opt for the religious rite independently of religious sentiments see Vignoli and Salvini , for a discussion of this issue.
Vignoli and Salvini argue, indeed, that young spouses tend to get married with the religious rite for two reasons: first, the aesthetics of this kind of celebration; and second, the social pressure of parents and relatives. A further point is worth making here: since at the second marriage the bride and bridegroom are, in general, older than those who are marrying for the first time and given that the Catholic Church has always been intransigent about divorce, it is unlikely that those celebrating a second marriage will or, indeed, can choose a religious rite this is confirmed by the results of our analysis.
Footnote 14 Therefore, the fact that younger people are more willing to opt for the religious rite may just demonstrate that younger people are more likely to make an occasion of their first marriage, while older couples are, in many cases, forced by Catholic norms to opt for the civil rite.
However, since we are controlling for civil status, we believe that this criticism does not apply here. Education both for the groom and wife is positively related to the likelihood of marrying with the religious rite. This result may seem counterintuitive. In fact, with respect to education, one may argue that more educated people tend to apply more scientific thinking.
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Therefore, they also tend to reject beliefs that posit the existence of supernatural forces. However, McCleary and Barro , using survey data for 68 countries, find that, though religiosity tends to decline with economic development, not all dimensions of development work in the same way, with education exerting a positive effect on religiosity and urbanization exerting a negative one. If highly educated people are more capable of the speculative reasoning that is needed for intellectual inquiry, they may also be more able or willing to make the abstractions needed to support religious beliefs.
Hungerman used changing time at school the years of compulsory attendance demanded by the state as an instrument variable to identify the relationship between completed schooling and later religiosity. He found a negative relationship between the degree of religiosity and educational level among non-Catholic Christians in Canada. Mocan and Pogoroleva followed the same approach and replicated this econometric analysis for eleven European countries, taking into account superstitious beliefs as well.
They confirmed that education reduces attendance and religious practices, as well as the propensity to believe in superstitions.
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