Several Superstitions and Customs in Korea

There are some customs that you need to keep in mind when you visit Korea later on.

It would be a good way to understand Korean people’s culture.

1. Korean people think that good lucks will leave you when you shake your legs. Shaking legs look bad and is regarded as a bad table manner in Korea. Parents often scold their children whenever they shake their legs on a dinner table or during a study.

2. Korean people avoid eating ‘Miyeok-guk (미역국, seaweed soup)’ during exam periods. 미역국 is very popular and loved in Korea but it is specifically avoided on exam days. There is a famous Korean idiom ‘시험에 미끄러졌다’ which translates as ‘I slipped on an exam’. Since seaweed is slimy, the parallelism created between the slimy seaweed and the idiom, create people to think that eating seaweed will fail their exams. Therefore, 미역국 is a symbolic meal for birthdays but not for occasions when important tests are on.

3. Magpie(까치) is regarded as a bird that brings a good luck, while sighting a crow(까마귀) is thought to bring you a bad luck or death. It would be the opposite in other countries. In some countries, crow is a symbol of a good luck. However, Korean people normally say that I am lucky (재수 있다) whenever they see a magpie while they say “I am unlucky. (재수 없다)” when they see a crow. Additionally, the traditional folk song, 까치 까치 설날 (Magpie Magpie New Year), is often sang on New Year Day for people to celebrate in hope for a lucky new year.

4.If Korean people accidentally drop a cup and the cup is broken, they think that something bad will happen.You maybe have seen a similar scene in Korean dramas. When actresses drop a cup or a vase on the floor, later on in the drama/movie, something bad will eventually occur. Therefore Koreans do not serve their guest with broken glass wares.

I can’t say that every Korean people believe in the superstitions. However, it would be helpful to understand Korean culture.

Sarah Yong (Korean Tutor)


How to use Korean public spa (찜질방: jjim jil bang)

안녕하세요. 애슐리입니다. Hello everyone, it’s Ashley.
I would like to talk about Korean spa (i.e. jjim jil bang). If you have any plans to visit Korea in the near future, I believe that this article could be help.
When you go to Korea as a tourist, it is very common to visit some famous tourist spots (mainly some famous shopping destinations). However, it can’t be called “real trip” unless you visit the real local people’s places that are a lot cheaper, fun and vibrant.

Today, I would like to share my favourite place to enjoy (especially in the cold days) whenever I visit my hometown. It is called “jjim jil bang” in Korean which means “hot massage and sauna room”. Perhaps you have heard of it from some other people who have already visited this place or even on the travelling booklets.
How to use “jjim jil bang” could be slightly tricky for those of you who visit here for the first time. I will teach you how to act like “local Korean people” at Jjim jil Bang.
First, you should pay your fare at the reception. You can choose whether you use only sauna room or use the whole venue. Prices are various (very cheap compare to Sydney!) between $5(sauna only) and $15(the whole venue). They will give you two towels and t-shirt plus shorts.
Second, you must wash your body at sauna room prior to going to the main spa. The Sauna room is strictly separated for female/men use since you must take off your clothes before you use the sauna.
Third, if you got the jjim jil bang package, you can wear the t-shirt and shorts that you have received at the reception then enter the main spa common room. From now on, you can use the differently themed room (e.g. aroma room, hot stone room and icy cold room etc.).
After you finished the spa, you should go back to sauna and wash your body again. After the bath, you can change into your original clothes and return the jjim jil bang clothes.
Most of the venues have different kind of entertaining facilities such as Karaoke, restaurant/dessert place/bar and nail shops.
Not very hard to use jjim jil bang, isn’t it? I hope you enjoyed the experience and get your health / beautiful skin back!

Written by Ashley Jang (Korean language teacher)

Christmas Carol in Korean

Christmas Carol in Korean

Santa Claus is coming to town 울면 안돼

 울면 안돼
Christmas Carol 


울면 안돼 울면 안돼
(You better not cry)
산타 할아버지는 우는 애들에겐 선물을 안 주신대요.
(Santa Claus doesn’t give crying children gifts)
산타 할아버지는 알고 계신대.
(Santa Claus knows. )
누가 착한 앤지 나쁜 앤지
(Who is a good child or a bad child.)
오늘 밤에 다녀 가신대.
(Santa Claus is coming tonight )
잠 잘 때나 일어날 때
(when you’re sleeping, when you’re awake )
짜증낼 때 장난 할 때도
(when you pout, when you make troubles)

산타 할아버지는 모든 것을 알고 계신대
(Santa Claus knows everything )

울면 안돼 울면 안돼
(You better not cry )

산타 할아버지는 우리 마을을 오늘 밤에 다녀 가신대.
(Santa Claus is coming to town tonight. )

안녕하세요, 여러분!
Hello everyone!
메리 크리스마스!
Merry Christmas! 

Christmas is really around the corner.
Let me introduce you one of popular Korean Carols. It’s the translated Carol from English into Korean, Santa Claus is coming to town.
The title and lyric are somewhat different but the melody is just same.
The title of ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ is translated into 울면 안돼 (You shouldn’t cry). “울면 안돼”, the meaning of this sentence is a little different to “You better not cry”
The expression of “-면/-으면 안돼” means “You should not ~”
You can use this expression like this :
For example,
마시다 (drink) becomes
먹다(eat) becomes
Therefore, 울다(cry) becomes
Though you can catch out how to combine a Korean verb stem and one of –면/-으면, any stem verb ending in a vowel can put together with –면 and any stem verb ending in a consonant can combine with –으면.

Koreans say Santa Claus as 산타 할아버지 which means Santa grandpa.
Culturally, Koreans use family title to call other persons friendly.

You shouldn’t cry to get his gift 
Be happy and enjoy the Korean carol.

Sarah Yong, Korean Teacher

How to talk about symptoms in Korean when you are sick.



Imagine you are sick during your precious Christmas holidays or business trips in Korea. You may need to visit emergency rooms in the middle of night. It is important to know some essential Korean expressions in relation to sickness.

The most common expression for this is “아프다 (a peu da)” which means ‘sick’. In the present tense sentences, it changes as “아파요 (a pa yo)” together with subject (i.e. body parts)+이 / 가. For example, “머리가 아파요 (meo ri ga a pa yo)” means ‘I have a headache’. If you want to say ‘I have a stomachache’, it would be “배가 아파요 bae ga apa yo”.

If you want to say more detailed symptoms, follow expressions can be used.

I have a cough. _ “저는 기침을 해요. Jeo neun gichimeul haeyo”

I have a runny nose. _ “**콧물이 나와요.konmuri nawayo”

(**Please note that when the final consonant of a syllable is /ㅅ/ and the following syllable begins with /ㅁ/, /ㅅ/ is pronounced as /ㄴ/, therefore when you pronounce ‘콧물’, the sound is /kon mul/ instead of /kot mul/. This is the majour phonetic assimilation/ nasalization rule is Korean.)

I have a fever. _ “열이 나요.yeori nayo”

I have a period pain. _ “생리통이 있어요.saengritongi isseoyo”

Now you know how to talk about your symptoms in Korean. Don’t be nervous even though they don’t understand your English. You can talk in Korean!!


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