Cold Feet


Korean superstition regarding fertility.


Eumin Lee was born and raised in the United States, although both of her parents spent much of their lives in Korea. As a result, Eumin grew up surrounded by Korean culture and superstitions. She now studies at the University of Southern California.

Original Script:

“There’s one where, um, if I’m walking around the house without my socks on, I think I’ve mentioned this one but my mom will yell at me to go and put on socks, or warm up my feet. Because she thinks that if I have cold feet, that I won’t be able to get pregnant in the future, and that it’ll render me sterile, or something like that. “

Informant’s Background Knowledge and Relationship with this Piece:

Eumin says that she does not really prescribe to this superstition, but just knows about it because her mom strictly enforced it at home.

Thoughts About the Piece:

I’ve heard this same superstition from a girl who grew up in Gabon. In addition to keeping her feet warm, she said that her mother wouldn’t let her shower after sunset, otherwise she might get cold when she came out, and that could cause infertility. I think it’s interesting that there seems to be some perceived relationship between staying warm and fertility and that this perception is held in both Eastern Asia and Western Africa, as well as potentially other regions.