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Konstantin Naktanov, About the First Haircut

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


In this short interview Konstantin talks about the ritual of the first haircut among the Kalmyks. Konstantin: There is one Kalmyk tradition. When a child reaches a year, he has his hair cut. Only a certain person can do it, i.e. a maternal uncle. The day of the first haircut is like a holiday. Relatives gather, drink tea, and the maternal uncle cuts the child’s hair. The hair is cut in 4 places: from the front, the back and from the sides. Then the hair is put near the (pictures and statues) of deities. After the ceremony, the maternal uncle receives a plate where all the present relatives put money and say well wishes. The more guests there are, the more the maternal uncle receives. An uncle of mine always used to joke to his brides, ‘Give birth to as many children as you can. Every year I will come and collect money’. Darina: Do people leave any hair after the haircut? Konstantin: No, the head gets shaven completely. It is believed that when the child has his/her hair cut, new mind comes into his/her head. By the age of one, children do not have much intelligence. It comes after they reach 1. So, when they have their first haircut, intelligence comes with it.



First haircut, ritual, beliefs

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.