Are you unable to find your perfect match? Don’t worry! Maybe by following this Korean superstition you will be able to meet your lover during the first snow (Thanks to 봉숭아물)!
South Korea is known for having various superstitions about the First Snow, particularly related to love. Therefore, the superstition (and tradition) we are about to introduce, it is also related to love; specifically to the first love.
what is this superstition about?
As its name (봉숭아물 든 손톱) indicates, in this tradition you must paint your nails with scarlet colored Balsam flowers (Touch-me-not flowers) in order to find your first love.
For this purpose, you must preserve the red color of your nails till the first snow comes. And if the color does not fade, it means that your love will become true.
when do i have to start?
The flower that you need it is called 봉숭아 in korean and 봉선화 in chinese. This flower blooms on the fourth lunar month, therefore, you must color your nails around late summer or early fall. Which means that you need to take care of your nails for months, till the first snow comes.
It might sound easy, but it actually takes effort because of this.
Until now, it is not clear when did this tradition started. However, there is one legend that took place during the Goryeo Dynasty, which gives a hint that it has been done for a long period of time.
the legend of bong seon-hwa
According to the legend, the King Chungseon (충선왕, 忠宣王) once dreamed about a girl playing Gayageum (가야금) * for him, whose fingers had blood dripping from the tip.
Once he woke up, he decided to look around the palace in order to find the girl he dreamed of. He found her due to the white cloth she was using to cover her fingers. Upon looking at her, he realized that instead of blood, it was the liquid coming from the 봉숭아 flowers; which meant, that she was only trying to dye her nails.
The king was impressed that she did not forget about the customs of her home country.
After that, she explained to the king that her father was dismissed because he was on his side, and because of that, she was sent there.
She proceed to play the Gayageum for the King. The song was about the king returning home safely. Because of this, the king felt moved, that he intended to return to his homeland. When King Mujong of the Yuan Dynasty ascended the throne, he was able to return to Goryeo thanks to his great help.
When the king returned and ascended to the throne, he tried to contact the noble girl, but she had already died. In honor of the girl’s affection, the king planted many 봉숭아 flowers in the palace garden.
variation of the legend
During the Goryeo Dynasty, a woman dreamed about receiving a phoenix from a fairy, and then she gave birth to a baby girl, whom she called Bongseon. Bongseon grew up beautiful, and she had a widely known good reputation due to her natural performance of Geomungo (거문고), which led her to eventually have the honor of playing before the king.
However, Bongseon suddenly became sick after returning home from the palace.
One day, Bongseon heard the king passing in front of her house, so she barely stood up and played the Geomungo with all the strenght she had left.
The king, who recognized the sound, saw red blood dripping from Bongseon’s hand. Therefore, he approached her to wrap her hand with a white cloth and then he left.
Afterwards, Bongseon died, and from her tomb, odd red flowers started to bloom. People used these red flowers to dye their fingernails, and named them Bongseonhwa as a tribute for her.
additional beliefs about balsam flowers
1. repels evil spirits and snakes
Since ancient times, this flower is greatly known to be used for repeling evil spirits and snakes.
The ancestors used to plant balsam under the fence of their houses, next to the Jangdokdae (장독대), or around the field. They believed that this way, nothing bad would happen, and that the snakes would not enter their houses.
Specially because the snakes hate the smell of this flower.
As for the ghosts, there is a custom of coloring one’s nail with this flower because ghosts dislike red color.
2. It is the cure for sickness
Depending on the flower’s color, it can help to cure different diseases. For example, the white-colored balsam flower helps to get rid of back pain and infertility.
According to the belief, various diseases such as obesity, urinary stones, diseases causes by excessive drinking or overating, headaches and diseases causes by pollution can be cured.
When you have upset stomach, it can also help you out, since it acts as a softener for hard things.
How to do it
how to prepare the mixture
To do the mixture you will need a bowl, in which you will add more leaves than balsam flowers. If you can, buy alum at the pharmacy to add to the bowl as well.
Then, crush them all together, and add a bit of salt.
how to apply
Before applying, you need to clean your nails first.
Then, you need to put the mixture on top of your fingernails; sequentially wrapping them in plastic, and after this, tie them with tape.
It should look like this:
Be sure to do it tightly, if not, the liquid will drip from your fingers.
With this in mind, you must leave it overnight.
After sleeping, you can remove it and wash your hands as usual.
If you want to make the color intense, you can apply up to three times.
Might sound like a lot of effort, but if you are able to keep it up, consider yourself as a winner and get ready to finally meet your lover during the first snow with this 봉숭아물 method.
does the color fade easily?
No, actually it does not come off. The color cannot be removed, and you will have to wait for your nails to grow.
If you want to mantain your nails dyed, do not cut them often. If you do it, your nails will grow fast.
At first, the scarlet color from the dye will be vibrant, not only in the nails, but also in the sides of your fingers. Then, the color will gradually start to fade out from your skin.
The edges will first become dark, but do not worry, these black spots will be gone after a few weeks.
After doing this, you will be ready to meet your Lover during the First Snow with this 봉숭아물 method! Even if you do not believe in love, we suggest you to try it out just for once.
Also, don’t forget to visit my profile to continue reading interesting posts about South Korea! Click here