Korean Superstitions

Many Korean superstitions revolve around death and dying. Perhaps it's because death has to do with the unknown, and people in every culture are frightened of the unknown. Superstitions were invented to keep everyone on their toes. To keep Korean children safe, certain superstitions were created, such as the one about ghosts on the rooftop that will sweep down and devour children who roam at night.

Korean Superstitions that Involve Death
Though Asian superstitions differ from region to region, the superstitions that arose from Korea tend to focus primarily on death. Sleeping with a fan on is one of the main superstitions known by all Koreans and believed by many. If you sleep with a fan pointed at you, particularly if it's pointed at your head, the fan will kill you.

Writing a person's name in red ink also is a sign of death. Since white is the color of funerals, if you wear white ribbons in your hair, you're inviting death to come knocking. Showering within 24 hours of receiving a vaccination can be fatal. And if an adult and a child are eating together, the child must eat the last bite of food or the child may die.

Several superstitions ingrained into the minds of Koreans have to do with dreaming of death. If you dream of someone who is already dead, do not go with them anywhere in the dream or answer any questions they ask, or you might also die. If you dream about something bad happening to someone and you talk about the dream before noon, the bad thing is sure to happen.

There's only one dream that involves death that seems to be a good omen in Korean culture: If you die in your dream, you will have good luck in real life.

Additional actions that could lead to an unpleasant ghostly encounter include whistling at night, hanging your feet off the side of the bed and sleeping on your back.

Korean Superstitions for Good Luck
Most Korean superstitions relay bad things that may happen to a person, but a few good superstitions can be found.

  • If you dream of a pig, you will have good luck.
  • f you cut your eyelashes, they will grow in thicker and longer.
  • If you cut your hair, you will grow taller.
  • To ace an exam, eat yut, a form of sticky Korean candy, beforehand so the answers will stick in your head and the pencil will stick to your hand.

Unusual Korean Superstitions

  • After giving birth, a woman must not bathe for 30 days.
  • if a woman miscarries, she must remain bundled up for two weeks.
  • If you cut your toenails after dark, they can turn into a ghost or spirit that may kill you.
  • If your child loses a tooth, it must be tossed onto the roof.
  • Avoid the number 4 at all costs. The Korean word for four is pronounced almost exactly like the word for death in the Chinese language.
  • Teachers may use a red pen to check their students' papers, but never to write personal comments.
  • Do not touch your eyes after touching a butterfly or moth, or you will go blind.
  • if you die in the water, you will be a ghost forever and never find your way to the afterlife.
  • If you jump over your baby, it will not grow.
  • Twirling a pencil makes you stupid
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