South Korea is a progressing country. Most of the old beliefs and traditions are being replaced by new ones. The new generation is leaving the old customs behind. This is mostly due to the rapid increase in the use of technology. But, all this progress and development has still not managed to eradicate the superstitions that are believed in South Korea.
It might be strange to think of such a progressing country having superstitious people, but it’s the truth. Superstitions are still a part of the Korean daily life. Some films such as Whispering Corridors, The Wailing, The Piper, etc revolve around the topic of superstitions in Korea. People follow them as if their lives depend on them. Most of these Korean superstitions are similar to superstitions from other Asian countries. These countries include Japan, China, and Taiwan. People in South Korea usually follow these superstitions and avoid doing a certain action to prevent bad luck coming their way.
Scroll down and read our pick for the 10 interesting superstitions in Korea. See how Korean people follow these superstitions in their daily lives.
According to Korean superstitions, sleeping with a running fan can cause death. Some Koreans believe that it can cause a lack of oxygen, causing you to die in bed. The origin of this superstition goes back to 1927 when a newspaper published a report on the cons of sleeping with a fan. According to the report, the fan circulates stale air in a room. This can cause several health diseases. These health diseases include nausea and paralysis. The report also suggested that a person sleeping in a closed room, with a turned-on fan, can choke on their own breath and die.
The newspaper report is also considered as a government conspiracy by some people. According to them, the government published this report to decrease the use of electricity. Whatever the real story was, people in Korea still follow this superstition.
The origin of this superstition goes back to China. In China, red ink was used for writing death sentences. After passing so many years, people in South Korea believe that writing names in red ink is a bad omen. This can lead to the name-carrier dying or facing any major failure, or severe bad luck. Writing someone’s name in red ink in Korea is also very rude. It means you are wishing death upon that person.
South Korea is known for its delicious food. And it would have been hard to believe that some of their superstitions wouldn’t be revolving around food. People in South Korea believe that eating sticky food like toffee or traditional Korean taffy, Yeot, will help the knowledge to stick in the mind of the learner. In exam seasons, students are seating and distributing Yeot, so they can keep the information in their minds.
You should never give shoes to a South Korean friend or lover. It is commonly believed in South Korea that when someone is gifted a pair of shoes, their lover or significant other ends up leaving them. The superstition says that the lover will run away in those same pairs of shoes.
In South Korean culture, pigs are a sign of fertility. In early Korea, pigs were very expensive, and owning them was a sign of being rich. Moreover, in current Korea, dreaming about pigs means that you are going to get wealthy soon.
The people of Japan and China also believe this superstition, as well as South Korean people. The pronunciation of the number four, in Chinese, is similar to the pronunciation of death. This is why using the number four is bad luck in these countries. Elevators in Korea, usually replace the 4 of the floors by F to avoid bad luck.
The origin of this superstition goes back to when the Mongols invaded Korea. In Korean culture, people usually want to die in their homes and put in a coffin there. The coffin is then placed inside the house for some time, so the dead can leave behind his attachment to the world. If during the time of the coffin being inside the house, a living person crosses the threshold of the house, he would get bad luck.
All around the globe, mirrors are a source of interesting superstitions. The same happens in South Korea, where placing a mirror directly in front of the door is bad luck and brings misfortune.
In Korea, people experience every important event with dirty hair. Washing your hair before any important event can bring bad luck to Korean people. Students, especially, avoid washing their hair before an exam.
The last superstition on this list revolves around whistling. In South Korea, people believe that if someone whistles after sunset, they will summon ghosts and spirits.
Check out: wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstition_in_Korea