Published on October 29th, 2012 | by Stephen Redeker
Behind the Myth: Moving Day
Photo by Johann H. Addicks
This series of articles sheds light on some Korean myths, folklore, traditions and superstitions. Every country has their own share of beliefs, fact or fiction, and many foreigners living in Korea have not yet heard or learned the basis for various Korean beliefs.
When moving from your old place of residence and into a new home, some strategy must be used in order to fully maximize the day of effort. For example, unless you hire professional movers, you need to make sure your friends and family will be able to help out. If at all possible, it should also be done in nice weather so you don’t freeze to death or give all your personal belongings a rain shower. Timing is important too: you should make sure the residents of the new home have fully moved out before you bring your belongings there, and the same goes for those people trying to move into your former residence. In Korea, however, there are a few more concerns on moving day. There are many superstitions involved with moving, and a few of them deal with evil spirits following you as you move your furniture.
Ghosts and evil spirits will haunt you and follow you into your new home when you move. Those who hold to this belief only move on certain “safe” days of the week. These days are called soneopsnensal (or손없는살) which means “day without ghosts” and some moving companies have these days marked on the calendar. They recommend these days to move in order to be safe from evil spirits hitching a ride on the moving truck and into your new residence. Luckily, there are a good number of these days in each month. Why these particular days are okay for moving is anyone’s guess.
There are certain things you must do in order to prevent hauntings from occurring. Make sure you don’t sweep the floor in your old home (you will probably have to sweep up the new place). The remaining dust and grime will throw off and confuse the evil spirits, because they will be tricked into believing you still live there. When the new people move in and clean it up, the ghosts will not be able to find you since you’re long gone. Why the ghosts don’t realize all the furniture and people have vacated the premises earlier is also anyone’s guess. In Korea, there is nothing to be said about evil spirits from one family haunting the new family that moves in. That story has been already played out in plenty of Hollywood movies.
Thankfully, there is some good luck that may come from a moving day, for example when it rains. In western culture they say that when a couple gets married on a rainy day, it brings good luck. Similarly, when people move on a rainy day, they will become very wealthy. Testing this theory is not advised, as you may actually find yourself much poorer after purchasing new furniture, since the old stuff got drenched.