Superstitions in Korea

This week’s lesson was on American superstitions. When you actually think about them and actually find out what they mean then you realize how crazy some of them sound nowadays. You can look at my lesson Superstitions.
So this got me interested in finding more about Korean superstitions, so this is what I found as told by my students:
Do not cut your toenails at night, or a mouse will come and eat them and become your doppelganger!
Crows also bring you bad luck!
The number 4 is their version of the number 13. They will not even make the 4th floor in hospitals and some apartments. The Korean word for four is pronounced almost exactly like the word for death in the Chinese language. Koreans also prefer odd numbers to even numbers, associating the former with positive “yang” energy and the latter with negative “eum” (or “yin“) energy. Funerals, for example, are therefore held for duration of odd numbers of days (three, five, seven, etc.) and tables laid with an odd number of dishes.
It is bad luck to wash your hair on a test day, you wash away your knowledge!
The same goes for seaweed soup, don’t eat it unless you want your knowledge to slip and slide right off your head.
To ace the test, eat yeot (엿 ) a sticky Korean candy that helps the knowledge stick! Step on poo? Good for you!
Who needs the toothfairy? Throw those teeth onto the roof for good luck!
Dreaming of pigs and expect money on the way.
Do not write anyone’s name in red ink. It is a sign of death. Red ink was generally used to record deceased persons in family registers and on funeral banners to drive off evil spirits, hence its association with death.

14 thoughts on “Superstitions in Korea

  1. I am now going back in my memory to see if I have dreamt about pigs lately! I really hope so!

    I love seeing superstitions in other countries. I remember Taiwan also not being a fan of #4. The hotel I was at skipped floor 4.

  2. Nice post! Some of their superstitions are bizarre. I have been learning lots lately too. For example you cannot go to anyone elses wedding the month before you are due to wed. You cannot wash yourself or leave your house for a month after you have a baby. Yes, a whole MONTH!! WTF!! As for the exams it is good luck to give people a plastic fork, so they can stab the information and it wont slip away!

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  6. 13 is bad luck because it was the day the catholic church overthrew and executed all the Knight’s Templars. The Salem witch massacure also supposedly happened on Fri the 13th.

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