[Ask Hyojin] Superstitions in Korea


What kind of superstitions do you have in your country? In this episode of Ask Hyojin, Hyunwoo and Hyojin talk about some common superstitions that you can find in Korea. Most young people in Korea don’t really believe in any superstitions but there are still a lot of things that people wouldn’t feel very comfortable doing because of some superstitions or because of their parents who believe in those superstitions. Find out what they are in this video!

Some of the most common superstitions in Korea

    1. Writing someone’s name in red is believed to make that person die.
2. The number 4 is related to death.
3. Eating 미역국(seaweed soup) on an exam day will make you fail the text.
4. Dreams of pigs mean that you will have good luck with money.
5. You need to have the right “궁합” to be happily married.

If you have any questions that you’d like Hyojin to answer in the next episode, leave them in the comment below! You can also browse through and watch all the episodes of Ask Hyojinhere!

[Ask Hyojin] Superstitions in Korea
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  • Vitor

    Very interesting video!
    The 4th floor superstition also happens in Japan, but there some people (I think the older ones) would avoid any apartment with a number 4 on it (like, 504, 704 and so on).

    I heard that in Korea there is a superstition about fans, I think it was about being alone in a rooom with a fan. Is it true?

  • Andrew

    If you spill salt you are supposed to take a pinch of it and throw it over tour left shoulder; this comes from the belief that the Devil stands behind your left shoulder whispering things to get you in trouble, spilling salt is unlucky (probably because it was once quite rare and valuable) but if you throw some of it over your left shoulder it will get into the Devils eyes and will distract him.

    The number 13 is considered unlucky and western buildings don’t have a thirteenth floor, they just go from 12 to 14; the reasons in Christianity is that Judas was the “thirteenth” disciple.

  • Andrew Heys

    There are many superstitions in the UK, My wifes attrocious for believing them.

    She won’t cross anyone on the stairs.

    Walk under a ladder.

    if she see’s a heads down penny she won’t go near it, if it’s heads up, she’ll pick it up while saying, “Find a penny pick it up and all that day you’ll have good luck. Give that penny to a friend and then your luck will never end.

    And if she see’s a single magpie, she’ll make me look at it, because 2 people seeing a single magpie is good luck, a single person seeing it is bad luck and she also start’s reciting the rhyme.

    One for sorrow,
    Two for joy,
    Three for a girl,
    Four for a boy,
    Five for silver,
    Six for gold,
    Seven for a secret never to be told,
    Eight for a wish,
    Nine for a kiss,
    Ten for a bird that you won’t want to miss.

  • Tom

    Opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck in England, breaking a mirror is famous for giving you seven years bad luck and many people say “Knock on wood” if they are talking about something they hope will or will not happen.

    So they might say, “When I get married on the beach, knock on wood, it won’t rain that day.”

    • Lee

      Opening an umbrella indoors is also considered a taboo in certain Asian cultures, as they believe that you might shelter and invite spirits into your house.

      Conversely, rain on day of marriage is considered a good sign, in spite of the obvious inconveniences.

  • John

    When I come across a black cat, almost every day, I tell myself, this cat is going to have a bad day today.

  • Sharon

    Please kindly advise how to write fortune teller in Korean. Thanks.

    • Hyunwoo said “점장이” in the video for the fortune teller.

      점장이 [jeom-jang-i]

  • Kathy W

    Some superstitions here in my region of the US include:

    *Hold your breath when you drive by a cemetery/graveyard

    *Pick up your feet when you drive over railroad tracks

    *Groundhog Day – February 2. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks

  • Meji

    In my country, Thailand, we have the same for the red writings and fortune teller for marriage.
    We also have the number 4 and 13 as bad luck because some of us are Chinese-thais and others believe in western believes but we have the number 9 as very good luck! 9 in Thai is gao which is from gaonah which means moving foward. If we have 9 in anything, it means you will be successful especially when we have 9999 as the car number. So, this number will be very very very expensive like 3 million dollars!!!

    • Wow, thanks for letting us know about the superstitions in your country.
      I didn’t know about the number 9. It is very interesting!

  • hyunylsaj

    Number 4 and writing someone’s name in red are also common among Chinese superstitions. 13 is more of western, like the 13th falling on a Friday. These are considered bad luck.

    Chinese believe that 8 is a lucky number. Same pronounciation as prosperous?

    Another one is the twitching of one’s eyelid, symbolizing good or bad luck.

    Having a mirror that reflects your feet when sleeping is also considered bad luck..

    The “knock on wood” saying as well is similar, but we physically touch wood surface instead of saying it.

    • I heard that number 8 is regarded as lucky number in Chinese but we don’t regard it as a lucky number.
      The pronunciation is same as the Chinese word meaning “to be rich, to earn much money”.

  • Guest

    Uh oh… # 3 Seaweed soup? Hmmm… what do you do then if your exam happens to be also your birthday? I suppose if you wait until after you finish the exam before you have your birthday soup that would be okay huh? 🙂

  • EveShelby

    Uh oh… # 3 Seaweed soup? Hmmm… what do you do then if your exam day
    happens to be also your birthday? I suppose if you wait until after you
    finish the exam before you have your birthday soup that would be okay
    huh? 🙂