16 Curious Korean Superstitions

If you’re only familiar with Western superstitions, like walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror being bad luck, then you should know that Korea also has its share of superstitions. While Koreans aren’t completely convinced that these folk beliefs hold true all the time, they still follow them as a matter of caution. Keep an eye out for these common Korean superstitions.

korean superstitions

#1. Dreaming of blood means money will come your way.

Blood represents money so if you dream of blood, that means money will come your way. Many people who have had a blood-filled dream will go out the next day to buy a lottery ticket!

#2. Dreaming of teeth falling out is not a good sign for health or wealth.

If you dream of losing your teeth, it means that you will lose money and your health. The best way to avoid this is by taking care of your teeth; brush them regularly and floss often.

If you dream that someone else has lost a tooth, then they are going to lose something valuable.

#3. Dreaming of pigs is lucky.

Pigs symbolize wealth and fortune. The pig’s Chinese character is pronounced as “don,”, which means “money”. If you dream of pigs, then it could mean a financial windfall. Some people will buy lottery tickets after dreaming of pigs.

#4. Number 4 is bad luck.

Number 4 is believed to be bad luck. You will find many elevators in Korea have the number 4 replaced with the letter F.

#5. Giving shoes to your lover will cause them to run away.

Giving shoes to your significant other could cause them to run away. If you really, really want to give her a pair of beautiful shoes that you know she will love, fret not! There is a trick around this. Some people will pay a small amount to prevent their lover from running away.

#6. Giving your man chicken wings to eat could cause him to fly away.

If you give your husband or boyfriend chicken wings to eat, it could cause him to cheat on you, or even ‘fly away’ from you.

#7. Writing someone’s name is red ink brings death.

Writing someone’s name in red ink (including your own) brings bad luck or even death because the color red is traditionally used in Korea to write the name of the dead.

#8. Couples walking along the stone wall path of Deoksugung Palace will break up.

Couples in the past would walk down along the stone wall path of Deoksugung Palace to get to the divorce court. Hence, couples who walk along the same path is believed to break up soon.

#9. If you touch a butterfly and rub your eyes, you will go blind.

If you touch a butterfly or a moth, do not touch your eyes afterward or you could lose your eyesight. This superstition is not as popular now.

#10. Eating seaweed soup on an important day will cause you to fail.

Not just seaweed soup, but eating anything slippery is believed to cause one to “slip” or fail. On the day of an exam, students who want to pass their exams do not eat seaweed soup.

#11. Eating sticky food during exam will cause you to ace your exam.

Eating sticky food is believed to cause one to “stick” the exam, hence rice cake is a popular food for students to eat before taking their exams.

#12. Eating apples at night is bad for you.

There is a saying that the apple you at for breakfast is a golden apple, the apple you eat for lunch is a silver apple, and the apple you eat for dinner is a poison apple. The reason for this superstition may be eating apples can cause stomach upset at night.

#13. Hearing a crow cry is bad luck.

The Korean elderly are especially upset when they hear a crow cry in the morning as it is regarded as an ominous sigh. Crows are believed to be messengers between this world and the underworld to bring bad news.

#14. Shaking one’s legs means shaking fortune away.

This superstition originated from a folklore of a landlord who had a habit of shaking his legs. A fortune teller visited the landlord’s house and thought that his habit of shaking his legs was removing his blessings, so the fortune teller had the landlord’s legs broken. A few years later, the fortune teller came to visit the landlord again and found out that he had become very rich.

#15. See the first snowfall with the person you like for an everlasting love.

The person you see the first snowfall with will become your true love and it will be everlasting.

#16. Paint your nails red till the first snowfall to find first love.

The nails must be painted in red with balsam flowers which bloom in fall, and the color must be preserved until the first snowfall.

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