Korean superstitions have been viewed by many people as unusual and even downright cuh-razy. All cultures have their own unique take on superstitions; however, Korean superstitions are worthy enough of being put into the hall of fame of superstitions! Through superstition, we are able to take part in the world of deception and make believe. Whether you are visiting or planning to stay in Korea, you should be aware about some of the Korean superstitions that you may hear during your stay. We’ve racked up seven unusual superstitions in the Korean culture that you may never have heard of, but it’s your judgement on whether to believe them or not!
Korean Superstition#1 – Fan Death
A common Korean superstition that has been present in South Korean culture for quite some was after the invention of the electric fan. A really random idea from a random person thought that having an electric fan running overnight in a closed room (doors and windows shut) could kill you by either suffocation or hypothermia. This phenomenon is known as, “Fan Death.” You might notice that the weather in Korea in the summer time is very hot and humid. So what’s a good way to cool off your naked body on a hot, humid summer day? Cooling yourself off with an electric fan, of course. The “Fan Death” superstition has become so popular in the Korean culture that companies who make fans started to incorporate timers in these electric fans so that you can set it to turn off by itself when you are asleep. Korean “scientists” over the years have tried to prove that this could in fact happen, but the argument has been thought of as just plain ol’ crazy by western “scientists.” We don’t encourage you to try this as we are not responsible for your death. But rest assured, the Seoulistic.com team has done this for many years while living in Korea so we think you’re pretty safe.
There was this common Korean superstition that whistling at night should be prohibited in order to keep the ghosts and snakes out of the household. Although there is no significant scientific evidence to back this superstition up, it’s probably just best to not whistle at all since it deals with the supernatural. Or at the least, it will summon your angry neighbors trying to get some sleep 😛
We’ve all been in this situation. You hand down your old clothes, jewelery, and even your shoes to someone special. There is a Korean superstition that giving your old shoes to someone (even to your significant other) will cause them to run away from you forever.
Here’s a tip: Right before you are about to hand your old shoes to someone, have them buy it for 5 cents, or 50 won. That’ll constitute as a sell, not a gift! You’ve just cheated the superstition into thinking that you sold your shoes, rather than giving them as a gift. Sweet victory.
Also, try checking out Seoulistic’s video about Korean dating superstitions!
Rumor has it that touching your eye after touching a moth or butterfly will make you blind. This Korean superstition is not so popular but has been around for many centuries and is still believed by many Koreans. And itching your eye can cause infection anyway, so why would you even touch your eye in the first place?! Let alone after touching a moth or butterfly? Common sense is not so common! Experiment with this Korean superstition at your own risk!
Tip: “F” instead of the number four? See lucky number 7 below 😉
Korean Superstition #5 – Evil Spirits Follow You When Moving
This Korean superstition is a very interesting and unusual superstition. Depending on how much you believe in superstitions, you can best bet that this one is definitely very believable. There is a belief that when moving out of your old home and moving into your new home can make evil spirits follow you during the process. In fact, there is a calender that shows the evil days and the days where evil spirits are not present. Even to the present day, some moving companies usually often accommodate movers about the days of evil.
Note: If you click on the image on the right, the days highlighted are the days without evil spirits. So make sure you move out of your house only on those highlighted days!
We all do this from time to time – shaking our legs. Whether you are nervous or just doing it out of pure habit, you’re about to find out why this is bad for you. Did you know that in the Korean culture, gold and prosperity lies within your legs? Well, this unusual Korean superstition tells you to stop shaking your legs because you will ‘shake’ out your fortune by doing so. So no matter how awesome it may look to dance and shake your legs, try to restrict yourself from doing this – otherwise, expect a penniless future!
Go back to the fourth Korean superstition mentioned on the list. Did you notice the F, instead of the 4? :O In Korean, the word for “four” has the same sound for the word for death. As a result, many apartments, hotels, and even hospitals have no fourth floor! Elevators will sometimes skip the fourth floor and go straight to the fifth floor or will have a “F” in place of the number “4.” Warning: high chance for confusion during late night binge drinking sessions.
What are some of the most bizarre or unusual superstitions you’ve heard of in your home country? Do they live up to the hype of Korean superstitions? Leave a comment below and let us know!