Everyone around the globe knows of or believes in superstitions. Superstitions are avoided in our everyday life, whether it is a black cat crossing in front of you or spilling salt and then throwing it over your left shoulder. These are just two examples of common superstitions in the U.S., but do you know about the superstitions in Korea?
- Numbers 3 and 4
Three in Korea is considered to be lucky! The number three symbolizes a person and/or humankind. Number one means sky, number two means Earth, and together they equal a person who has control of both heaven and the ground.
While we are on the topic of numbers, the number four in Korea is considered unlucky. So unlucky that most buildings and elevators in Korea do not list floor “4,” but they list it as “F.” The origin of the superstition comes from China, where the word for four sounds similar to the word death. Many also avoid planning big or special events on the fourth day of the month to avoid any bad luck that may be coming their way.
- Dreaming of Pigs
When you fall asleep and dreams take over, you often want to dream about meeting your bias and falling in love or becoming a celebrity, and dreaming about certain things has meaning. In Korea, if you dream about pigs, it signifies wealth and fertility. The Chinese character for pig is pronounced as “don” which means money in Korean.
- Fans and Death
In the middle of a heat wave, you just want to sleep in front of a fan to cool down, but in Korea, this is not the case. Sleeping with a fan on in a closed off room will kill you, or so it is believed. This superstition started back in 1927 when a story was printed warning the public of the dangers the new technology causes. Nausea, asphyxiation, and facial paralysis was listed as some of those dangers. It is also believed that the fan will continue to circulate the old air and never bring new air in, causing you to suffocate. Today, fans in Korea are equipped with an automatic timer that will shut the fan off while you sleep.
- Washing Your Hair
What does washing your hair and New Year’s Day have in common you may ask? Well, in Korea, it's believed that washing your hair on New Year’s Day will wash away your good luck. Students also go by this superstition and wait to wash their hair till after a big exam or important test. It is best to wait until January 2nd or the day after a test to wash your hair so you do not risk anything and keep the luck that is calling your name.
Gifting Shoes to Your Significant Other
If your significant other’s birthday is coming up or a special occasion is just around the corner and you want to get them a pair of shoes, one word: don’t. It is believed that giving shoes to your significant other will make them run away from you, possibly even in the shoes that were gifted. So while you may have been eyeing a nice pair in a store, get them something else they will love.
- Shaking Your Leg
Whether you were nervous about something or have anxiety, everyone has shook their leg at least once in their life. In Korea, if you shake your leg, you are essentially shaking off all of your good luck. It is also considered rude to shake your leg if talking to the elderly. So don’t lose your luck or make a bad impression.
- Red Ink
Have you ever reached for a pen to sign something, doodle, or even write something and you happened to grab the red one? It is documented throughout history that red ink is used when writing the name of the deceased. So if you were to write someone’s name who is living in red, it would mean you want harm to happen to them or even worse, you wish them death. To this day, many consider it rude to write names in red.
There are many superstitions in Korea that are still taken seriously in today’s world. Do you find any of these superstitions interesting? Do you have any superstitions in your family or culture that are interesting? Comment down below!
Written by Brianna Giles