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What is considered unlucky in Korea?


In Korea, superstitions have been a part of the culture for centuries. Many Koreans still believe in various superstitions, including those that relate to good luck and bad luck. Some of these superstitions are steeped in tradition, while others have arisen over time. In this article, we will explore what is considered unlucky in Korea.

Avoiding the Number Four

The number four is considered unlucky in Korea because it sounds like the word for death. It is said that if you give someone a gift with four items, it means you wish them dead. This superstition is so widespread that many buildings in Korea do not have a fourth floor, and the number four is often skipped when assigning parking spaces.

Black Cats

Black cats are believed to be unlucky in many cultures, and Korea is no exception. It is said that if a black cat crosses your path, it will bring bad luck. This belief is so strong that some people will avoid black cats at all costs.

Broken Mirrors

Breaking a mirror is considered unlucky in many cultures, and Korea is no exception. It is believed that breaking a mirror will bring seven years of bad luck. To avoid this, it is recommended to dispose of broken mirrors carefully.

Red Ink

Using red ink to write someone’s name or address on an envelope or letter is considered unlucky in Korea. It is said that using red ink symbolizes death or mourning. Instead, black ink should be used.

Whistling at Night

Whistling at night is considered unlucky in Korea because it is believed to attract ghosts and evil spirits. It is said that whistling at night can bring bad luck or even summon ghosts.

Pointing at Graves

Pointing at graves is considered disrespectful and unlucky in Korea. It is believed that doing so will bring bad luck or even anger the spirits of the deceased.

Gifts of Shoes

Giving someone shoes as a gift is considered unlucky in Korea. It is said that giving shoes will cause the recipient to walk away from you or even walk out of your life.

Umbrellas Indoors

Opening an umbrella indoors is considered unlucky in Korea. It is said that doing so will bring bad luck or even cause a family member to die. To avoid this, it is recommended to open umbrellas outside.

Chopstick Superstitions

There are several superstitions related to chopsticks in Korea. For example, sticking chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice is considered unlucky because it resembles incense sticks used at funerals. Crossing chopsticks is also considered unlucky because it symbolizes death.

Unlucky Birthdays

In Korea, certain birthdays are considered unlucky. For example, the 60th and 70th birthdays are considered unlucky because they mark the end of one’s life cycle.

The Direction of Your Bed

The direction of your bed can also be considered unlucky in Korea. Sleeping with your head facing north is believed to bring bad luck or even death. It is said that this position resembles how the deceased are laid out for their funeral.


In conclusion, there are many superstitions related to good luck and bad luck in Korea. Although some may seem strange or outdated, they are still widely believed by many Koreans today. Whether you believe in these superstitions or not, they are an important part of Korean culture and should be respected.

What is considered bad luck in South Korea?

In Korea, there is a superstition that writing someone’s name in red ink is a sign of danger, misfortune, or even death. This practice is also sometimes viewed as a desire for harm to come to the person. As I began learning Hangeul, I became familiar with this belief and followed it closely.

What is the bad luck color in Korean?

In Korean culture, the color red was historically associated with death, leading to a taboo around writing a person’s name in that color. It was believed that doing so would bring bad luck or even death to that individual.

Is 7 unlucky in Korea?

In Korea, certain numbers are considered lucky, such as 7, and are believed to bring good fortune. Conversely, numbers like 4 are considered unlucky and are commonly avoided.

What is impolite in Korea?

Behaviors that are seen as impolite in your own culture are most likely also impolite in Korea. This includes actions like spitting, yelling, physical violence, using offensive language, and generally behaving in an unpleasant or disrespectful manner.

What things are not allowed in South Korea?

Illegal substances like opium, marijuana/cannabis, and cocaine are some examples of banned items. This list also includes products made from animal parts such as elephant ivory, leopard fur, and alligator skin, as well as certain payment methods like cashier’s checks and postal money orders.

Why do Koreans avoid the number 4?

In South Korea, the number four is considered unlucky due to its similarity in sound to the word for “death”. This fear of the number four, or tetraphobia, has led some elevators in South Korea to skip the fourth floor.

Superstitions and Everyday Life

Superstitions are not just limited to special occasions or events in Korea. Many people incorporate them into their everyday lives. For example, when leaving the house, some people will turn their doorknob to the left before turning it to the right, as a way to ward off bad luck. Others will avoid cutting their nails at night because it is believed to bring bad luck.

Religious Beliefs and Superstitions

Korea has a rich history of religion and spirituality, which has influenced many of its superstitions. For example, some believe that placing a bowl of rice and water outside the front door can help protect against evil spirits. Others will perform a ritual known as “Gosa,” which involves offering food and drink to ancestors in order to receive their blessings and protection.

Changing Attitudes Towards Superstitions

While superstitions have been a part of Korean culture for centuries, attitudes towards them are changing among younger generations. Some view them as outdated or irrational beliefs that hold no real power. Others may still follow them out of respect for tradition or as a way to maintain cultural identity.

Final Thoughts

Superstitions are deeply ingrained in Korean culture and continue to play a significant role in everyday life. Whether one believes in them or not, they offer a unique insight into the country’s history, traditions, and beliefs. As Korea continues to modernize and evolve, it will be interesting to see how these superstitions adapt and change over time.

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