Korean Unique Superstitions
Have you heard that the number 13 brings you bad luck? Pfft. That can’t be! It’s just a number! Well, you may believe it or not. Superstition is what we call this kind of credulous belief with each country having their own. The bad luck of Number 13 is widely believed in the Western world, like in the US and the UK. In Asia, it is the Number 4 that is believed to bring bad luck. That’s the reason why you wouldn’t see ‘4’ on the elevator buttons. In Korea, there are several other superstitions that are not associated with numbers, instead with kimbab, shoes, and even beauty!
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Here are 15 fascinating Korean superstitions:
1. GOOD PIECE, GOOD GENES
To pregnant mommies, make sure you do not eat the front or end piece of kimbap! It is believed that you will likely give birth to a good-looking baby if you eat the middle pieces instead. Why? The middle pieces of a kimbap are more organized so it is more appealing to the eyes while the front and the end piece are not. It doesn’t only apply on kimbap but also other food. You have to eat the more appealing part/piece of your food.
2. THE CROOKED-EYED BABY
It is said that if a pregnant woman doesn’t get to eat the food she’s craving, her baby will be born with crooked eyes. There has been no legitimate evidence to back this up, but I assume it comes from the series of whining and eye-rolling by hangry mamas! We all get frustrated if we don’t get to eat what we want, right?
3. PROTECTING THE MOTHER
If a woman miscarries, she should be bundled up and remained that way for about two weeks. It is believed that this became a thing when medical help was mostly unavailable for women so they came up with their own way of coping with miscarriage. In fact, many superstitions on pregnancy came from the old-time Korea.
4. NO SHOWER
Hold the thought of getting a nice shower after going through hours of painful delivery! In Korea, taking a bath after giving birth is a big NO. Again, this superstition comes from old times. Back then, hot water – or water, in general – was not easily obtainable. The water had to be pumped and boiled first and the mother didn’t have a nice set up in the bathroom either. So to make sure that the mother will be alright after birth, she will need to wait for at least a month to take a shower. That is, of course, because her body has naturally recovered from giving birth.
5. SEAWEED SOUP IS A MUST
Food is also important for new moms. It is said that you will need to eat a large bowl of seaweed soup after you give birth. As much as this is a traditional superstition, a bowl of seaweed soup does give benefits to our body. Seaweed contains a lot of calcium, fibre, and iron which are all necessary for postpartum women, especially since these women tend to be anaemic as well.
6. CONSTANT WARMTH
Still relating to the previous superstition, postpartum women needs to be kept warm. It is insisted that they wear full clothing at home, no short sleeves or short pants, no matter what the weather is. They cannot even walk around the house barefoot either. This superstition aims to keep the mother’s joints and arteries healthy from early deterioration.
Korean Beliefs About Love
7. NO SHOES AS A GIFT
Shoes can be pretty, as well as pricey. A lot of consideration should be made before buying shoes for your significant other – consider her size, her style and her other shoes. But don’t sweat it. In Korea, it is considered a bad luck to give shoes as a gift to your significant other. It is believed that the receiver will run away afterwards, meaning the couple will eventually break up. Well, unless that’s what you aim to do.
8. THE PATH TO GOODBYE
If you’re dating someone and going to go for a walk together, keep in mind that you may want to avoid Deoksugong Path. The path leads to the Seoul Family Court where married couples go to file for their divorce. That’s where such superstition comes from. So basically, you will also split with your significant other if you walk down this path together.
9. THE MYSTERY OF BEAUTY MARKS
Facial features can be cute and attractive at times. But for Koreans, moles or beauty marks around the mouth are not. In fact, it is somewhat untrustworthy. The existence of such beauty marks may show the potential of that person being unfaithful in the future towards his/her partner.
10. DON’T DRINK BY YOURSELF
This one superstition is sad to begin with – and inevitable at times! They say if you pour yourself a drink, you will be single for 3 years. What!? What if we’re a solitary human being, right? But fear not, superstition doesn’t always happen in real life. Raise your glass and enjoy your life. Love will come either way.
11. TRY NOT TO CRY CHALLENGE
We all know that military service is compulsory for every man in South Korea. Some of these men are often in a relationship by the time they have to enlist. Unfortunately for the women, they should try to hold back their tears. It is believed that if the women cries when the men have to go, they will break up. Isn’t it just a natural reaction?
Koran Bad Luck Colors
12. NO NAMES WRITTEN IN RED
It is considered a bad luck writing names in red ink. You may be accused of giving a death wish if you write someone’s name in red ink. Interestingly, if you want to write anything other than names with red ink, it is completely fine. This is rooted back to the historical tradition wherein the name of the deceased is written in red. Therefore, if you are in Korea and about to write someone’s name, you can use regular blue or black ink pens.
13. THE COLOR WHITE ATTRACTS
White is a sweet and calming color. However, Koreans use white as the color of funerals. That’s why when you wear a white ribbon, they say you’re attracting death to pay a visit to you.
Korean Superstition About Wedding Ceremenonies
14. ONLY CATCH IF YOU ARE READY
Have you ever caught a bouquet at a wedding? Well, congratulations! In Korea, it means you will have to get married in the next 6 months or you will never do so. That is why the bride usually gives the bouquet to her friend who is already engaged to avoid any unnecessary pressure on those who are single.
15. SHOWER OF BLESSING
Don’t be afraid to hold your wedding on a rainy day. This one superstition believes that getting married on a rainy day will actually bring happiness to you and your spouse in the future! The rain nurtures the ground to be rich so that plants can grow healthily. Therefore, your family will also grow healthily just like the plants.
Do you believe in these superstition? Share with us in the comments below!