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 Home >> Attractions >> Korean culture
Don't Whistle at Night

It can be said that everyone is afraid of a jinx. There also exists in every society and country things that are taboo or are believed to cause jinx someone. There are several that exist in Korean. Knowing these jinxs or superstition are part of the foundation to understand the Korean ancestor's way of life.
Concerning Jinx in Korea

If you want to give Korean people good impression during your stay in Korea, it's better to use caution against causing a jinx, if possible.   
One jinx for Korean people is that one should not tremble one's legs. If you tremble your legs, good fortune will get away. If you tremble, people believe that the fortune, which is inside of your body, or the fortune, which will enter your body, will get away. Thus, older people often express unpleasant feeling toward the young trembling their legs.
Koreans also believe that by using their right hand to do things, they are giving a god image. If you use your left hand then you present a bad image. Pouring alcohol with the left hand is considered imprudent. Naturally, when the other person pours alcohol, the other person receives the drink in their right hand.
When Korean people eat a meal of fish, they dont turn the fish over. It is because of belief that the fishing boat where fish was will be overturned if you turn the fish over.   
In addition to these jinxes, there is another jinx.
In the men centered Korean society, under the influence of the Confucianism, a merchant doesn't like the first customer to be a woman to come into his store early in the morning. The merchant believes that he is unlucky that day if the first customer coming in his store is woman.

Jinx Involving Wisdom of the Korean

You should not cut your nails at night. Cutting your nails at night is taboo for Korean people since old times. It's due to the superstitious belief that when you cuts your nails at night, the rats will eat the nail clippings at night and that the rat will act as if it is the owner of the nail.
It is absurd to believe that the rat acts like a human being, but it's wise to caution against such a taboo; so dont cut your nails at night In ancient times when there were no electric lights, it was normal that you would have a difficult search in the dark room when the nail flew off into space.
Sitting on the threshold of a house is a taboo for Korean people. For this, there is a very scientific foundation for the taboo. Outside of the threshold is cold due to the outside air and inside of threshold is warm due to the warm air of room. The two airs are not compatible.
In addition to these taboos, whistling or playing the flute at night is also taboo. It's forbidden to whistle or play at night because one says that serpent or ghost might appear.   Older Koreans always observe those kinds of tale.   

The story is scientifically unfounded. However, if one whistles or plays on the flute at the time when neighbors sleep at night, your neighbors cannot sleep. If they cant sleep, you will be on bad terms with them. In reality, the noise rate of the flute or that of whistling exceeds the noise rate in the heart of city in the middle of the day.
Due to the development of science, many taboos have disappeared. However, it is good for Korean people and guests in Korea to caution against breaking a lot of taboos.   Naturally, most of them are unfounded and unscientific.
Who knows though, you just might meet with a serpent while whistling or playing on flute at night.
25-07-2001
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