Tonsuring: Why I am not falling prey for it?
First hair cut or mundan is considered as a milestone among family. There are people who save the hair from the first hair cut as a memory and there are also people who tonsure the baby hair for well being. India being a diversified country with a vast range of traditions and beliefs. Every community has their own ceremonies which they religiously follow. One of which is tonsuring, very common among Indian Hindu families.
What is Tonsuring? How and Why?
Tonsuring is an act or process of shaving the head, especially as a religious rite or custom. It is considered as a religious ceremony among Hindus. According to the rules, the tonsuring should be performed either in the first or third year of the child. The most common belief is that birth hair is connected to past life and the process of shaving signifies starting afresh by moving away from the past. They also quote that it increases hair growth exponentially and alters the texture.
Having said that tonsuring do has some positive effects where it helps in healing many diseases such as Pediculosis (head lice infestation).
A priest is asked for an auspicious date for the ceremony. Some families consider it to be a milestone and they invite friends and family for the celebration whereas others will just have a closed circle ceremony. Usually a barber does the ritual with a razor or a blade after offering prayers.
Why I am not falling prey for it?
The common myth presumed among public is that shaving of hair increases growth and alters texture. The effect of repeated shaving on human hair growth was studied by Lynfield and MacWilliams. In their study, five young men shaved one leg weekly for several months and left the other leg as a control. No significant differences in total weight of hair produced in a measured area, or in width or rate of growth of individual hairs, could be ascribed to shaving.
When I had the same discussion with my husband he gave an example about beard growth after shaving. I did tad more research on the same and realized that it is impossible to detect the daily increase in beard growth.
A pediatrician exclaims that there is no proof that it increases quality of hair and mundan is not required.
Did you know?
- Hair growth solely depends on genetics and nerve function around that area. You can improve hair growth only from eating healthy and consuming enough water. Tonsuring, for how many ever times done will not improve hair growth.
- I believe in getting my little ones consent and to be sure if she is comfortable. I still feel guilty about piercing her ear as I feel I did something to her body without her consent. They can always grow up and decide what they want.
- I am also concerned about the trauma and stress they go through in the ceremony. I have seen kids cry their lungs out when so many people surround and talk around them. That commotion and confusion is so overwhelming for the child.
- Tonsuring can also be associated with secondary bacterial infections if clean blades are not used. Further tonsuring is associated with the risk of transmitting HIV and Hepatitis B virus infection if the blades are reused without sterilizing.
- A scalp without hair can be very dangerous when a child falls. Please be cautious.
- People in the name of god use all the shaved hair to make wigs and in turn make money out of it.
- The after effects of shaving is very painful for the child as the razor/blade leaves behind inflammation.
Lastly, all I want to convey here is do what is best for your child. Never push yourself and the child for reasons unknown. Do your research and stand firm if you know it traumatizes your little one. At the end of the day being a parent we have to be the voice of our child until they are able decide what is best for them.
Do let me know what you think and your views in the comments section below.
until next time…
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