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Hair – some interesting snippets of information

Religious and cultural symbolism


  • The shorn head symbolises celibacy, chastity or purity.
  • Monks (of the Christian faith) have shorn heads.
  • Hindu Priests have shorn heads. The temple at Madras which houses the massive Vishnu – a blue-skinned, four-armed deity image, has 500,000 + annual visitors. Pilgrims pay homage by removing their hair. 600 barbers are employed.
  • Buddhist Monks have remove all body hair.
  • Islamic children (male and female) have their heads ritually shaved around the 3rd – 10th day after their birth.
  • Hindu Widows have shorn heads.
  • All Hindu women are expected to have shaved their heads once in their lifetime.
  • Muslim women must not remove scalp hair or eyebrows.
  • Muslim Men must remove pubic and axillary hair.
  • Muslim Men should not wear tonsures.
  • Orthodox Jewish Females – Some ultra-orthodox women are shorn and bewigged immediately prior to and throughout marriage. Some others keep their natural hair but cover it when out of the house.
  • Orthodox Jewish Males – do not have their hair cut before their third birthday. The Pagan custom of shaving the sideburns is forbidden by the Torah. Jewish males who accede to this mandate may curl this hair or shave it – but below the jaw bone.
  • Rastafarianism – identified by uncut dreadlocked hair.
  • Mohicanism – in which the head is shorn leaving a narrow ridge running centrally from front to back.
  • Sampson (the Biblical character) inexplicably remained strong only whilst his scalp hair remained long.
  • Sikhs (orthodox) – do not cut scalp hair.
  • Athletes (terrestrial and aquatic) – shave the head in a attempt to improve performance by reducing drag.
  • Long hair in the female is perceived by some as feminine and ‘sexual’.
  • Long hair in males once popular is perceived by many as ‘interesting’ in modern times.
  • Short (cropped) hair in males is normal when fashion dictates, but in the military context is perceived as a component of authority and associated discipline.