Monday, July 4, 2011

Korean Superstitions

After writing about fan death, which still seems so crazy to me, I was interested in learning about some other Korean superstitions. After talking to some people,doing some research, and thinking about what I already know about Korean culture here is my list.

Fan death, of course, is number one. It's amazing how many people truly believe that fans will kill you in the night, and thus are not to be trusted.

If you dream about a pig you will have good fortune. If you dream about a snake your daughter may be pregnant. You should never sleep with your head facing west, as that is the way the dead are buried.

Red is the unlucky color in Korea. If you write someone's name in red it means that you want them to die.

As a housewarming gift you should bring someone laundry detergent, as it brings wealth and good fortune. (A friend of ours was presented with toilet paper by their neighbors as a housewarming gift earlier this year!)

On a babies first birthday you should present them with a pencil, string and money. Wait to see which the baby goes for first and that will be their fortune. The pencil means good at studying, the string means long life and the money, of course, means they will be rich.

After you give birth you should eat seaweed soup to aid in your recovery. (Side note: this soup is actually really yummy!)

The number 4 is very unlucky in Korean culture. In fact, many building elevators have a F instead of 4. The number 7 is considered very lucky.

In Korea when you choose your spouse you have to be careful of their age. If you marry someone with five years difference in age you will fight constantly but never be divorced. if you marry someone six years older or younger than you you will "become strange." Many Koreans believe that a 4 or 7 year age difference between you and your spouse is the best. (Everyone I tutor has asked me my age and Josh's age, to determine if we are a good marital match!)

Do not give your boyfriend or girlfriend shoes as a gift. If you it means they will leave you.
Girls are taught that if they cut their hair short they will grow taller.

Many Koreans also believe that having surgery is the best way to speak English better. Many Koreans struggle with the "l" and "r" sounds in English. I am often called "Ms Reah" even by many adults. Some Koreans agree that a surgery to separate the tongue from the lower jaw is the best way to solve this pronunciation problem.

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