‘The act or process of cutting and shaping the hair’
The above definition seems concise and straight forward yet for cultures around the world it is a celebrated occasion, a religious ritual and a rite of passage for many. A child’s first haircut is highly regarded and performed around the globe in many ways. Today we’re exploring the globe one haircut at a time.
The first haircut is performed at exactly one week old and consists of shaving the baby’s head to remove any hair grown while in utero, therefore cleansing the child at the start of their lives. The child’s hair is then weighed, converted to its worth is silver and the amount, or typically more, is donated to charity.
Performed by the maternal or paternal Grandmother at one month old, the child’s head, except for the crown, is shaved in the name of good luck. Red, a widely believed lucky colour for Chinese culture is incorporated into the ceremony in the form a red cap or hat to be worn following the haircut.
NORTH AMERICAN CULTURE
North Americans tend to save a lock of a child’s first haircut for reminiscent purposes. The hair is often kept in a baby book or a keepsake box. The first haircut could be performed at home by a parent but more than likely will take place at a salon geared towards children.
When an Indian or Hindu child is born with hair it is believed that hair represents negative or unwanted traits from lives previous. Between the ages of one and three a ceremony called Mundan Sanskar is performed consisting of shaving the child’s head. A priest and a barber participate with sacred chants and hymns being recited by the priest. Sandalwood and turmeric will be applied to the child’s head as a result of any small cuts endured during the shaving.
Performed at three years of age and usually on the male child’s birthday, a ceremony called an Upsherin is performed. This is when friends and family gather to take turns cutting locks of hair from the child, the first cut being reserved for the Rabbi. If the hair is long enough it will be donated to a charity that produces wigs for children or, like Muslim culture, is weighed and the equivalent in currency is donated to a charity.
No matter where in the world your child’s first haircut takes place it is often a special moment for the family, especially the parents or care givers. The event also has the potential to be somewhat traumatic depending on the child’s experience. Opening a dialogue with your child about haircuts is crucial and maybe a visit to the salon with Mom and Dad, just to watch, could be helpful.
Enjoy this spurt of warm weather Toronto, seize the day under this February sun and we’ll talk soon.
Stay warm, laugh often
The Evoke Team