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5 things you probably didn’t know about South Korea


The popular K-pop girl group 2ne1. (Photo by KOREA.NET - Official page of the Republic of Korea on Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA)

Let’s get to know a bit more about South Korea.

Bad luck for four

elevator buttons without the number four

The floor buttons in an elevator in South Korea — the 4th floor button is an F. (Photo by Nam-ho Park licensed CC BY 2.0)

In Canada, many people believe the number 13 is unlucky. But in South Korea, it's the number four that's considered to be bad luck. As for why it's thought to be unlucky? That's probably because the Korean word for "four" sounds a lot like the Korean word for "died." In a lot of elevators, they will use the letter "F" instead of the number four.

Music to your ears

all girl K-pop group 2ne1

The popular K-pop girl group 2ne1. (Photo by KOREA.NET - Official page of the Republic of Korea on Visual hunt / CC BY-SA)

K-pop is a super popular music genre in South Korea. Its name is short for Korean Pop. The music is a combination of hip-hop, pop, rock and R&B. Thanks to the internet, K-pop is now a big hit with music fans all around the world — even with those who don't understand the lyrics!

Shop ’til you drop

interior of the Goyang shopping mall on a busy day

The Starfield Goyang shopping mall in Goyang city, near Seoul. (Photo by TFurban licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

South Korea is home to some of largest shopping malls in world. There's probably not a lot of shopping happening right now with Covid and social distancing. But customers can usually do some serious shopping, since many malls stay open until the wee hours of the morning — that can mean until 4 or 5 a.m.!

Korean ABCs

a sign with Hangul letters

South Koreans use an alphabet called Hangul for writing. It was created in the 15th century and consists of 19 consonants and 21 vowels. Instead of being written in a row, like the letter you use in English to form words, Hangul letters are grouped into blocks of syllables. So, when you see a letter like this — 한 — it's actually a block of letters.

Up, up, and away!

large bird kite in the sky

Photo by lets.book on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Kite flying is a popular pastime in South Korea. During the Lunar New Year, kite-fliers cut the strings on their kites so that they soar away. It’s believed that when the kites drift off in the wind, all bad luck floats away with them.