Monday, March 7, 2016

Old Korean Hat Etiquette

It is the odd custom of Korea still prevailing in many portions of the country, that only married men must wear hats. 

KOREA — LAND OF QUEER HATS

Odd Custom That Still Prevails That Only Married Men Must Wear Headgear


In Korea, the period of mourning for a parent or grandparent is three years. For the Empress, the mourning period extended over five years. When abroad, the mourner is expected to go with his head bent down, and to draw his hat as far as possible over his face. Where the white gauze hat wasn’t available, the etiquette of mourning was observed by wearing the black one with a great patch of white paper pasted over the crown. 


The gauze and horsehair hats ordinarily worn are tied under the chin by means of ribbons or stripes of cloth. The Korean gentleman is extremely particular about this. It is the odd custom of Korea still prevailing in many portions of the country, that only married men must wear hats. In Korea until a man marries, never mind how old he is, he is looked upon as a boy, and entitled only to the boy's privileges. The two chief privileges denied him are the arranging of his hair in the top-knot and the wearing of a hat. 

While he is a "boy” he must wear his hair in a plait hanging down his back, and go bare-headed even on the streets. But as early marriages prevail in Korea, and there are numerous hoys at the beginning of their teens who have become husbands, it is seldom that a grown man bare-headed is seen on the streets in Korea. 

It is considered in accord with Korean etiquette for men to wear their hats in the house. A missionary tells how each Sunday, during the hour of worship, he looks out over a forest of hats, ‘‘horsehair coronets, mourning caps, mushroom, bowl, and umbrella shapes,” all on the heads of the male members of the congregation; for in Korea, except in rare cases, the women are hatless. — Sausalito News, 1924

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