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!
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.