Why does “Wearing Green Hat” mean cheating in China? (戴绿帽子)

You would not feel anything weird If you were told that “Your lover is wearing a green hat” You might wonder what’s wrong with wearing a green hat. However, you might cry if someone told you that phrase in China because that phrase can be implied as “Your lover is cheating on you!”

Do you wonder where the phrase “Wearing Green Hat” comes from and who made this phrase up? Today, ACU PAY will talk about the history of this for you.

The story of the “green hat” or ” 戴绿帽子 (dai lumaozi)” is interpreted like Thai expressions such as “to hit the back of the kitchen (intrigue)” or “to wear a buffalo horn (cheat on)”. It comes from two assumptions.

Husband and wife who cheated on him

The first story took place during the Tang Dynasty. It’s a legend about a merchant married to a beautiful woman who was desirable to many young men. Nevertheless, his husband had to travel often to trade outside the area, and his wife felt lonely and desolate. So she secretly shared her heart to a cloth dealer.

One day, the woman’s husband stayed at their home and didn’t leave to trade for more than 3 months. So she suddenly thought of a way and asked the seller for a green cloth to sew as a hat for her husband to wear when he had to go on a business trip. Her husband thought his wife was worried about him, so he wore that green hat every time he left home.

Until one day something unexpected happened. When the woman’s husband went out, the clothes dealer thought her husband would be on a business trip as before. When he had the opportunity, he sneaked into the wife’s home, but things didn’t go as he thought because the woman’s husband forgot his stuff and went home earlier than usual and saw his wife having an affair.

He learned that his wife gave him a green hat to signal the clothes dealer that his husband would be on a long journey and that they would be happy together again. The story of shame and news spread throughout the village. So this is where the expression “Wearing Green Hat” came from.

Green Hat and Prostitution

Another reason for wearing a green hat has to go back to the Tang Dynasty (1279-1368). In those days, difficulties from war prevented husbands from going out to work or harvesting produce. Therefore, there was no money to take care of the family.

Some husbands therefore have the idea of having their wives and daughters go out to prostitute, but with the rules to identify the social status of that generation, those who prostitute must wear green hats to identify themselves as well, and the families of prostitution providers must wear green hats as well.

Later, people named the man with a turban or a green hat “绿帽子” (Green Hat people). In addition, wearing a green hat also represents the loss of manhood and dignity from his wife who has to prostitute.

With these two stories, it comes to the reason why Chinese people dislike wearing hats, especially those with green ones.

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