Green hats are a no-no in China

No self-respecting Chinese male would be seen dead in a green hat.  They are the one item of clothing you will not see here.  You might like to know why, so I will tell you a little story..are you sitting comfortably?…then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time, long long ago in China there lived a man and his wife.

They gave every appearance of being a happily married couple, but all was not as it seemed. The wife was in love with another man who lived close by.  The husband’s business dealings often meant he had to travel out of town, and the wife wondered how she could inform her lover when her husband was going to be away and it would be safe for her lover to visit her.

She hit upon the idea of buying her husband a hat to keep his head warm when travelling.  It was a green hat. Needless to say the husband was delighted that his wife was so attentive to his well-being and so every time he set off on a business trip he wore his green hat.    As soon as the lover saw the man in his green hat hurrying down the street  he knew the coast was clear and he would hurry to the wife’s side.

This went on for a long time, and the neighbours soon cottoned on to what was going on.  ‘There he goes in his green hat thinking all is well’ they would say, laughing behind the husband’s back.

The expression   戴绿帽子  dài lǜ mào zǐ

became used far and wide to describe a cuckold and is still used today.

Alas history doesn’t tell us if the business man ever found out what the purpose of the green hat was, and what was happening each time he wore it, but I suspect they did not live happily ever after.And from that day to this, Chinese men will not wear green hats – and can you blame them!


About herschelian

Started my 60s by moving to China with my DH. Surprised to find I am still here in Beijing eight years later - still finding it an adventure!
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2 Responses to Green hats are a no-no in China

  1. Pingback: Learning Our ABCs « Teaching in the digital world

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