Your Wife is Cheating on You, Xbox in China, and 戴着绿帽

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Wearing A Green Hat

What’s one holiday the Chinese just don’t understand?  St. Patrick’s Day.  That’s because wearing a green hat (戴着绿帽 – dài zhé lǜ mào) in China means that your girlfriend or wife is cheating on you. 

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Xbox Story

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In January of 2014, a 14-year ban on console gaming was lifted, so Microsoft began preparations to send a crack team to China to sell their Xbox One (http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/08/technology/china-video-games/).  Microsoft planned to teach their relocating employees Mandarin.  I was lucky enough to be picked up to teach Chinese to one of the individuals and was also able to help catch a grave mistake.  My student was the top marketer and had suggested uniforms for the delivery people: black shirts, khakis and green hats.  I laughed and told my client to reconsider the hats.  After he talked with his Chinese counterparts, he was immediately happy to change the uniforms to a black hat.

In A Word

Wearing a green hat is serious business, people.  Here’s another thing Chinese people don’t get:

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Have you ever heard of “wearing a green hat” in Chinese before?

3 Comments

  1. I have never heard of this before! Oddly enough, race car drivers (and people on race teams) often believe green is bad luck in the pits before a race. Not quite the same, but I wonder if these two superstitions come from similar places!

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