Saturday, February 21, 2015

Korean Superstitions

I am now living in Korea and being exposed to my third culture.  One of the things I find fascinating about learning a new culture is that every culture has their own superstitions or ole wives tales.  In America for example, breaking a mirror causes 7 years of bad luck, if you make funny faces then your face might just get stuck like that, or knocking on wood somehow magically prevents jinxing yourself.  Well Korea has their own set of superstitions and so I thought I would share the ones I have heard so far:

  1. Playing outside in the rain will make you bald. 
    • I discovered this one when a student bluntly asked me if I played outside in the rain a lot as a child.  Not nice!
  2. If your shoelace becomes untied then someone was thinking about you. 
    • This makes me wonder if nobody thinks about kids with velcro shoes...
  3. Writing someone's name in red means that they will die or that you wish they would die. 
    • When my students forget to write their names on their assignments I usually write it for them and I am usually grading the assignments with a red pen.  Although it is frustrating when they forget their names and I have to find out whose assignment it is, I wouldn't go as far as to say that I wish they would die.  Just not be so forgetful next time and you may live.
  4. Jumping rope will make you taller
    • Not sure where the logic in this is, but if it were true I would have grown so much more in high school with all the jumping rope we did in wrestling.
  5. The number 4 is unlucky
    • Similar to the number 13 in American superstition.  4's are sometimes replaced with "F" in Korean elevators.
  6. People's blood-type defines what type of character they have
    • Koreans have their own form of zodiac, except instead of the year you were born (Chinese zodiac) or the astrological constellation associated with your birthday, it is centered around what blood type you have.

I am sure there are others, and I will update as I discover new ones, but leave a comment and say which you find most interesting/strange/funny.