Understanding Unique Korean Superstitions in K-Dramas

K-dramas aren't just about love triangles and catchy music! Hidden within these popular shows are fascinating glimpses into Korean culture, like superstitions. These beliefs can confuse international fans, but with a little knowledge, you can unlock a deeper understanding of your favorite K-drama. Here are five common Korean superstitions you might spot while watching:

Red Ink

Unlike many cultures where red symbolizes good fortune, in Korea, it's a color associated with bad luck, especially when it comes to writing someone's name. Traditionally, red ink is used to write the names of the deceased on funeral documents. So, the next time you're watching a K-drama and see a character avoid red pens or react strangely to a red note, you'll understand why.

Shoe Superstition

© tvN - Queen of Tears

K-dramas frequently depict extravagant displays of affection through lavish shopping sprees. However, viewers unfamiliar with Korean cultural nuances might be surprised to learn that gifting shoes to a romantic partner carries an unintended message. In Korean tradition, a superstition exists that the recipient of shoes will "walk out" of the relationship.

Chopstick Etiquette

Mastering the art of eating with chopsticks is crucial in Korean culture. However, proper etiquette goes beyond simply holding the chopsticks correctly.  Never stab your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice. This act resembles the way incense sticks are placed during ancestral rites and is considered disrespectful. 

The Fear of Four

© tvN - True Beauty

While Western cultures often associate misfortune with the number 13, Koreans have a different number they consider unlucky: four. The reason? The pronunciation of four in Korean ("sa") sounds similar to the word for death ("sa"). You might notice buildings mysteriously missing a fourth floor, or elevators that inexplicably jump from the third floor to the fifth. This is the main reason.

Buying and Selling of Dreams

Koreans believe dreams can hold serious power, especially good ones. Dreaming of good stuff, like a pig, is a sign of good luck coming your way.

Some Koreans who encounter this dream buy a lottery ticket, hoping to win big. Some people sell their good dreams to someone else who needs them more. It's like passing on the luck, usually for a little cash. 

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