For many years, hair has remained a symbol of culture and by large, a social badge for many. To date, people continue to use different hairstyles to identify themselves as members of certain social classes and to some, these hairstyles have developed some spiritual significance. Here are seven hairstyles that actually have a religious meaning.
The House of DavidIn an attempt to unite the 12 tribes of Israel, Benjamin Franklin started a baseball team in 1914 as a way to recruit members into his apocalyptic cult in preparation for the return of the Messiah. Members of the cult swore to entirely abstain from sex, alcoholic drinks, and meat. They also practiced the Nazirite tradition by not shaving their heads. They got their inspiration from the Bible’s Leviticus 19:27-“You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edge of your beard.” Consequently, the members of the cult distinguished themselves from society by growing flowing beards and long hair that reached up to the waist level-The House of David indeed.
The tonsure hairstyle is commonly associated with Catholic monks. In the ancient church, new members recruited into the monastery had to cut their short as a purification rite. Upon successful conscription, their hair would then be trimmed at the center leaving a crown-like hairdo. Over the years, there have been several versions of the Tonsure including the famous Celtic Tonsure, which was strongly rejected with allegations that it was based on profane magic. The catholic tonsure is still a common hairstyle among the monks’ culture.
If you’ve watched The Lord of the Rings, then the Pe’ot hairstyle is probably not that new to you. It’s actually a very distinctive hairstyle with a long beard and sidelocks. Just like the House of David, the Pe’ot is partially inspired by the Torah, precisely, the book of Leviticus. Many people and circles believe that the long beard carries magical power that is of an entirely different attribute from that permeated in the side locks.
Perhaps the most common hair closely associated with religion is the Dreadlocks style. The religious beliefs woven in dreadlocks became eminent with reggae superstar Bob Marley’s rise to fame. According to the Rastafari beliefs, dreadlocks represent a covenant to fight against Babylon and the style closely resembles a lion’s mane to signify bravery. Practitioners believe that Jesus will return as the Lion of Judah to save them. Though dreadlocks are surrounded by lots of controversial topics, the hairstyle still remains a pride for many, especially the Native African destiny.
NavajoThe Navajo hairstyle is strongly rooted in Native Americans. They believe that their hair is sacred and they use it to represent memories and spiritual obligation. In the 20th century, Navajos were largely recruited into the army with the belief that they possessed instinctive abilities. The army believed that their hair, just like Samson’s, was a source of great power and was, indeed, an inborn aptitude. According to scientists, however, dead hair cells transmit extra perception to the skin receptors which could stimulate the mind to increase the acuity of the human’s sixth sense; instinct.
PabbajjaPabbajja is a Buddhist initiation rite where a novice becomes a Spartan. The rite is commonly practiced on young boys around the puberty age. Initiates are required to shave their heads and beards completely while repeating enchantments as they transition into the ascetic form. Once the rite is over, the transformed initiates wear a saffron robe and start off their journey of homelessness into the world. In most cases, this means joining a monastery.
The Jata is basically a matted locks hairstyle among the Hindus use to symbolize their commitment to escape reincarnation. This is part of a larger community devoted to a life of denial of material possessions and sexual abstention. Indian women who wear Jata also do it to embody their commitment to their husbands. The Jata locks are often bundled up to resemble a turban and represent a covenant between the wearer and the Hindu god of regeneration and destruction. The locks must be washed after every three days to avoid lice infestation.