Polina Fedorova, About Girls' and Women's Hairstyles

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Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 

Polina talks about several topics, including the differences between girls’ and married women’s hairstyles, rituals performed on the bride’s hair during a wedding, and about some wedding rituals. Polina says that after a baby has her first haircut at the age of one, her hair grows quickly. When it reaches her shoulders, her parents comb her hair into one plait. She has the same hairstyle until she gets married. The age when a girl is deemed marriageable is 16. Kalmyk girls had a choice in choosing their suitors. If a girl did not like her suitor, she could communicate her discontent by putting her hair on her right shoulder. It this case, the boy would not approach her. Following the marriage, she is brought to her husband’s house where women divide her hair by arranging it into two plaits to signify her married status. After this ceremony, all in the house drink tea, the older women put shivrlyk (special hair bags) on the bride’s two plaits and utter well wishes. This can be done the next day as well. Polina also talks about wedding rituals connected with bringing a bride to her husband’s house, including cutting her nails, making her perform the ceremony of respect to her in-laws, etc.

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