Four Superstitions Koreans Have About Food

Four Superstitions Koreans Have About Food

South Korea is a country that values tradition, and with that tradition superstitions naturally, follow. But their superstitions extend to more than just bodily or spiritual experiences. There are even a few superstitions that extend to there food! From beliefs on prosperity to a weary tactic to prevent infidelity, here are four interesting superstitions that Koreans have when it comes to specific food.

1. You Shouldn’t Eat Seaweed Soup On Test Day?

This savory traditional dish is most famous for being the primary birthday dish. While in most cases it’s thought to bring about prosperity, and good fortune in the coming years there is one day where it is believed the dish shouldn’t be consumed at all: test day. College entrance exam days are a huge ordeal in Korean culture. So much so that roads will even be blocked off, and police will be posted on the streets to ensure that anyone taking the test can get there before the doors close. They take every possible measure to be sure they will pass the test, and this means removing seaweed soup from your diet for the day. Because these tests are so focused on memorization, Koreans believe you have to make sure the information sticks to your head, so slippery foods should be avoided. It is feared that if you eat slippery food like Seaweed soup, all the information will slip from your head. Instead, they’re given things like rice cakes or taffy to further emphasize the importance of information sticking.

2. You Must Eat 팥죽 (Patjuk) During Winter Solstice To Ward Off Evil Spirits?

Eating something hot to warm you up on a cold night, isn’t an activity out of the ordinary. But on the night of the winter solstice, eating 팥죽 (red bean porridge), holds a lot more meaning. Back in the time when shamans doubled as doctors and curses were thought to be more than just legend, it was believed that the red color of the porridge would ward off the evil spirits. Which was especially crucial on the night of the winter solstice as your body was more likely to be possessed by an evil spirit on that night. Along with the porridge, Koreans also crack an assortment of nuts with their teeth believing that the cracking sound would scare the spirits away.

3. Alcohol And Its Dos And Don'ts?

As many Korean entertainment fans may know, there seem to be a lot of rules associated with drinking alcohol. But they all stem from a good place! For instance, pouring your own alcohol while with someone else is seen as a sign you’re not connected, or invested in the person you’re seated with. Younger drinkers should always turn away and cover their cup with one hand from the oldest at the table as a sign of respect. And when you’re accepting a drink being poured for you, your right hand should be the one holding the cup and your left hand should be placed on your right wrist. What’s now seen as a sign of respect was initially started as a way to keep long sleeves from falling into your food, and the tradition just kinda stuck?

4. You Shouldn’t Feed Your Significant Other Chicken Wings?

Probably one of the more absurd superstitions on the list, but yes you read correctly! In South Korea, it is believed that you shouldn’t feed your significant other a chicken wing if you want the relationship to be a long, happy, and healthy one. The thought behind this being your significant other (specifically men, sorry guys) will literally “fly away” if you feed them a wing. Which means they believe that they will have an affair with someone else and inevitably leave you. Chicken wings hold more power than you think it seems.

What an exciting rabbit hole we fell done today! There are so many more superstitions related to food that are just waiting to be found, but for now, take these four and apply them to your every day if you’re a superstitious person. Maybe they’ll help out in some cases. And if you ever lost a significant other and weren’t sure why they left just think: did I feed them a chicken wing?

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