Global Traditions for A Baby’s First Haircut
A child’s first haircut is so significant, that all across the globe, numerous cultures mark the occasion with special celebrations.
The first years of a child’s life are one amazing milestone after another.
First steps...first words...the tender tears of those teething months.
And, of course, that remarkable moment you know your little one’s really growing up:
BABY’S FIRST HAIRCUT
Think back to the first time you gave your own little ones a hairstyle all their own.
Maybe you took them to a salon with special kid-friendly chairs and nurturing stylists.
Or perhaps you sculpted their style yourself...with all the motherly love you can muster.
“With safety scissors, a soft-toothed comb, and a lot of love, you can share a special moment with your baby.”
Either way, there’s no doubt about it:
That first haircut lets you know a real person, with their own one-of-a-kind personality, is coming into their own.
A WORLDWIDE CELEBRATION
In fact, a child’s first haircut is so significant...such a key part of the growing-up process…
...that all across the globe, numerous cultures mark the occasion with special celebrations.
Here are a few of the most fascinating first-haircut rituals from around the world.
The next time one of your little ones is preparing for their first styling session…
...these inspiring examples just might encourage you to start your own haircut traditions!
IN MONGOLIA, IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR
Naturally, when you welcome a new arrival into any family, everyone gets involved…
...offering advice and sharing gifts, so you have everything you need to bring your child up right.
But in some countries, child care is really an all-hands operation!
Take the Asian nation of Mongolia, where the entire family helps out with a child’s first haircut.
“Everyone in a Mongolian child’s family comes together to make their first haircut special.”
Mongolian children get their first cut between the ages of 2 and 5, depending on the lunar year.
But when it’s time to lose those locks, Mongolian parents don’t just take their kids to a salon.
Instead, in a special ceremony, members of the family and other honored guests all take turns cutting off a piece of the child’s hair.
As they do, they offer heartfelt wishes for a long, healthy, and happy life for the child.
And they even shower them with money and other spectacular presents!1
It’s just one way a child’s singular coming-of-age moment truly brings the family together!
ROMANIA: STYLING THE FUTURE
When you adopt any new hairstyle, it’s meant to tell the world something about who you are.
But in Romania, in eastern Europe, parents use an unusual haircut-based ritual to learn who their children might be when they grow up!
Most Romanian children usually get their first haircut a year after they’re baptized.
For this haircut, known as “a lua motul” (translation: “cutting the forelock”), a lavish party is thrown for family and friends, with the child in their finest outfit.
During the party, the child’s hair is cut by their godmother or godfather.
“In many Romanian first-haircut ceremonies, the godfather removes the first tuft of hair”
Then, a large plate is placed in front of the baby.
And on that plate is a range of specialized items...from books and office supplies to cell phones...and even car keys!
The baby then chooses three items from the plate...and the items they pick are meant as clues about what the little one’s future will be.
- Picking a book or a pen means the baby will grow up to be especially smart
- Choosing the car keys indicates a coming passion for speed
- ...and, if the baby takes coins or bills from the plate...they’ll live a life full of wealth!
So, when you select your baby’s first hairstyle, take care:
Like the Romanians, you could be embarking on a path that will determine your baby’s destiny!2
IN PERU, A CHILD’S HAIR IS MAGIC
Finally, we head to South America, where many cultures still practice centuries-old customs.
And some of the most interesting rituals occur in the coastal country of Peru...
...where a baby’s first haircut (which happens as young as seven months) is part of an elaborate blessing ceremony called a despacho.
During this ceremony, which builds up to a massive feast, family and friends are invited to snip tufts of hair from the child’s head.
These pieces of hair are added to a ceremonial bowl filled with flowers and money.
All the while, the baby is surrounded by offerings of flowers, food, incense...even photocopies of $100 bills!3
But the most important part of the despacho happens after the baby’s hair has been cut.
That’s because many Peruvian native cultures practice magic and witchcraft.
And children’s hair is believed to be a powerful tool for witches when they do black magic!
“The native peoples of Peru use hair for all manner of magical ceremonies.”
So, after the despacho, the baby’s hair is carefully gathered up and burned.
That way, it can’t be used to cast spells...which keeps the baby and its family safe!4
SPECIAL WHEREVER YOU ARE
Now, you might think we don’t have any first-haircut observances this unique in America.
But consider this:
Somewhere, in a curio drawer or keepsake box...you probably have a lock of your baby’s hair.
You saved this memento from your own little one’s first haircut...just like your mother probably saved yours.
If you haven’t done so in a while, take it out. Give it a look, and a touch.
It’s a beautiful reminder of an indisputable fact of life:
Whenever you cut and style your hair, you’re not just freshening your look.
You’re marking a moment of your life...the end of an “old you,” and the birth of new possibilities.
It’s been that way since your own first cut…
...and it’s why every styling session is a special occasion!
- “What A Kid's First Haircut Looks Like In China, Mongolia, And 5 Other Cultures.” Fatherly, Fatherly, 10 Jan. 2017, www.fatherly.com/health-science/first-haircut-rituals/.
- Marica, Irina. “Discover Romanian Traditions That Are Strange for Foreigners.” Romania Insider, Romania Insider, 16 Feb. 2017, www.romania-insider.com/discover-romania-local-traditions-customs-might-seem-strange-foreigners/.
- “A Peruvian Despacho Ceremony For A Baby's First Haircut.” Hey Boomers, heyboomers.com/2014/06/a-peruvian-despacho-ceremony-for-a-babys-first-haircut/.
- “Top 10 Peruvian Superstitions for the Savvy Traveler.” Peru Travel Blog, www.fertur-travel.com/blog/2012/top-10-peruvian-superstitions-for-the-savvy-traveler/3905/.