Bulyash Chumudova, About Women's Haircuts
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Terbish, B., & Churyumova, E. (2018). Bulyash Chumudova, About Women's Haircuts [Video file]. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.23880
In this interview Bulyash talks about traditional ideas and beliefs connected with haircuts and hairstyles. Bulyash: Girls have only one pigtail tied with a ribbon at the end. After marriage, her hair is divided into two bunches. When I got married, they (my husband’s old female relatives) did this to my hair. They drank tea and said well wishes to me. Mergen: How did they divide your hair? B: They combed my hair and then divided it into 2 plaits/bunches. M: What for? B: It is done so that it brings happiness (to the bride), so that she becomes happy in her new house. My mother used to pray 3 times a month on the fasting days (on the 1st, 8th and 15th days of the month). Before the war (in 1941) I always helped and looked after her. She prayed to Buddhas and rolled prayer beads in her hands. In Siberia (where the Kalmyks were exiled) she continued doing so. Then we did not have butter to fill candles (dedicated to Buddhas). Instead we used animal fat. M: In the past did people cut their hair? B: Women were not supposed to cut men’s hair. Today at barbershops it is okay, but back then we had other rules. Only men could cut other men’s hair. Things were like this in the past. Before cutting hair, people looked at whether the day was auspicious for doing so. They also consulted lamas (regarding whether the day was good to have their hair cut). M: There is a saying that women have long hair but short intelligence. Why do people say this? B: Women indeed have little intelligence. They don’t rule countries, do they? There is a saying, ‘The goat’s meat is not offered to gods/ Women do not preside over the state’. An offering to gods never includes goat’s meat, only sheep’s meat. In the past, men’s words were like law for women. Women lived according to what their husbands’ and elders’ wishes. Women wore a headscarf so that other people could not see their hair. M: When women cut their hair, was it considered to be a sin? B: When women cut men’s hair, it is bad. M: Did women cut their own hair? B: No. M: What kind of hairstyles did old women have? B: Old women wore shivrlyk on their hair. Even today some do so. Women also wore tokug (a metal ornament). M: Do you wear shivrlyk? B: My mother did. She also wore a Kalmyk dress and tokug. She died in 1963. We lived separately. She lived with our little brother. I do not know where her tokug and prayer beads are now. Her daughter-in-law must have inherited them. M: Did women wash their hair? B: Of course, we did. Should we have stayed with dirty heads? Hair is long, you see. M: What time of the day did you wash it? B: During the daytime. It was forbidden to do so in the evening. M: What did you wash your hair with? B: With chigyan (sour milk). In Siberia, we boiled water with wild grass and washed hair with it. M: When did you wash it? B: During the day. My mother used to rebuke me: ‘Do not wash your hair in the evening! Do it in the daytime. You have brothers and sisters, keep this in mind’. M: What was the reason for washing hair only in the daytime? B: It was believed that washing it in the evening was bad for your siblings. My auntie never cut her hair in her life. Today, all cut their hair, some (women) even cut it short.
Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.23880
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/