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  •  Actually, those hats are very popular in Asia... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, mythatsme

    ...and not just among farm workers.  There are of course the cheap but durable ones that farmers wear, but there are also ceremonial versions which are brightly colored, and sometimes made with very expensive materials such as silk, pearl and jewels.  Buddhist monks wear them.  Farmers wear them.  Wealthy people wear them.  

    The Chinese have many versions of them, from cheap ones used by farmers, to extremely ornate and expensive ones.  There are a huge variety of them, with each province having different designs.  

    Vietnam has a particular version of the hat known as Nón Lá.  There are many variants in Vietnam, some of which are extremely ornate and prized for their high levels of craftsmanship.  How expensive, ornate and well crafted your Nón Lá is can be a mark of prestige.  Often, they are handed down from father to son and mother to daughter much the same way a father in the west would give his son a fine watch or a mother would give her daughter the "good jewelry" or fine china or silverware.   The Nón Lá is a part of Vietnam's official costume.

    The Koreans have their own version.  So do the Japanese and the Philippines (where, like Vietnam, they have extremely ornate ones that are popular with wealthy individuals).

    It is also worth noting the impact this ubiquitous hat has had on western fashion:  it is recurring theme in many western designers' hats.  It was also a popular fashion statement in some western countries fairly recently.  

    If you've ever traveled in Asia, especially China, Vietnam and the Philippines, you will have seen shops that sell these hats by the thousands.  Everything from crude, simple and cheap ones for local farmers, to expensive, finely crafted ones made of silk and jewels to wealthy residents to wear to parties, celebrations and festivals.      

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