Behind the mask

Home > National > Diplomacy

print dictionary print

Behind the mask

The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Mr. Ornstein, who wrote to us from Osan:

Q. Mr. Ornstein:
I know that many Koreans wear surgical masks in the winter, believing this will stave off colds. But why on earth don't more Koreans wear hats? On very frigid days, most Koreans go hatless. Don't they know that most body heat loss occurs from the top of the head?

Koreans began wearing masks decades ago when the government and hospitals suggested the practice as a way to prevent the spread of contagious diseases, such as influenza. The practice has survived, and many people still strap on a mask at the first cough or sniffle of a cold.

As for hats, local health experts advise wearing them in the winter, but most Koreans are averse to them. If you wear a hat, people usually point out that you are either fashion-conscious or different -- depending on you and the hat.

Traditionally, men's hats denoted their social class. As Korea became modernized, hats became less popular.

More in Diplomacy

U.S. ready to negotiate with North, envoy says

No Koreans reported injured in Beirut blast

Back to China

Daegu court can proceed to sell off Japanese assets

Korean gov't needs concrete net-zero goals: Ban Ki-moon

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now