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06/19/2017 Special > Special

Title

Korean Superstitions about Dreams

Special meanings of dreams

장수현

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Contents
Dream interpreting existed in various civilizations, especially in the ancient times and the Eastern part of the world. Korea is not an exception to the culture of dream interpreting. Many modern Koreans think that dreams may denote certain meanings related to one’s fortune. As a result, specific details about the meanings of diverse dreams exist in Korea.
 

Auspicious dreams and ominous dreams

Dreams are generally distinguished as lucky or unlucky according to its content and prominent symbols related to it. Dreams without any notable symbols are considered to have no significant meaning and can be ignored. Due to the importance of the presence and meanings of the symbols, sometimes even nightmares may be a dream with good meaning. Even though a good or bad figure appears, what happens to it in the dream is most important when interpreting the dream. For example, if something bad happens to a good symbol, or vice versa, the meaning of the dream changes. In cases where others want to buy one’s dreams, selling the dream is possible with the exchange of money or valuable items.
 
Generally, dreams about dragons are considered the best of dreams as they are thought to bring huge success and fortune. There is an old belief that dragons are imaginary but auspicious animals. Dreams about pigs are also the lucky kind that may foretell the procurement of money. This is because ‘don’, the pronunciation of Chinese character for ‘pig’, is similar with that of ‘money’. Strangely, a death of a family member in a dream denotes that that certain individual would live long. Additionally, dreams about one’s ancestors reappearing means good luck. Beautiful natural elements such as a rainbow, stars, and flowers are thought to bring luck as well.
 
Pig dreams are thought to bring large sums of money.
(Photo courtesy of lomangce.tistory.com/77) 

Conversely, dreams about losing a tooth is a bad omen because they signify that something bad will happen to one’s intimate friends or family. Many dreams regarding babies, such as hugging them, are strangely unlucky. They mean that some agony or worry will trouble the dreamer, and one’s honor and fortune will also collapse. Losing one’s shoes is also one of the bad dreams that is thought to deprive one of of his or her job or friends. In addition, being chased by someone means that one is feeling nervous or isolated, and may experience failure.
 

Taemong, or dreams before a birth of a baby

Most Koreans have vivid dreams before conceiving a child, which are called taemong. The dreamer is not limited to the baby’s mother but includes its father, other family members, or even friends. Different symbols in the dream tell whether the baby is a boy or a girl. For example, some taemong that symbolize the birth of a boy are the sun, a big fish, a serpent, and red pepper. On the other hand, a half moon, a small snake, and flowers are a few of the elements of a girl’s taemong.
 
Korean mothers are very interested in taemong, because they may fortell whether the baby is boy or a girl and also its future. 
(Photo courtesy of blog.naver.com/ynp0052/140172062101)

There are various stories of special taemong that were dreamt for the birth of famous people in Korean history. An enormous bull with a fiery red sun perched between its two horns, riding a cloud in the mountains appeared in the taemong of King Sejong, who created hangul with his men in the Joseon Dynasty. As the bull tripped and the sun tumbled down, a boy dressed in red jumped in and swallowed the sun. The taemong of the former president Kim Dae-jung who won a Nobel Peace Prize in the year 2000 showed the gods from the heavens. Also, a dragon and a snake twisted together and rising to the heavens is the taemong of Park Ji-sung, a legendary soccer player.
 
Although Koreans enjoy the idea that dreams may foretell the future, or possess a special kind of meaning, most people today do not seriously believe in dream interpreting. However, some people tend to take precautions when they have had bad dreams, and decide to buy a lottery ticket after having good dreams. 



Jang Soo-hyun
        luxkari@hanyang.ac.kr
 
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