In Thai culture, there is a shaving ceremony for newborns where they would get their very first haircut at the age of 1 month.
You may have heard your Thai friends talking about this shaving ceremony, which is a very old tradition that is passed on through many generations. As a modern mom, you may be wondering if you should do it and why?
How does this tradition work?
Newborn hair and nails are believed to be unclean and need to be cut and removed. The older generation also believed that once the ceremony is completed, the baby will be obedient, easy to raise, and will grow nice luscious hair in the future.
When to do it?
The ceremony is either held on an auspicious day for good luck or once the baby turns 1 month old.
How to prepare for the ceremony:
- Schedule an auspicious day
- Invite 5 or 8 Buddhist monks
- Invite your relatives
- Ceremonial equipment such as; flowers, incense, bowl for holy water, candles, holy thread, turmeric, razor, axe, and shovel
- The monks will pour holy water on the baby’s head and shave off some hair while other monks chant prayers against some sacred music
- Other relatives will take turns shaving the baby’s head before a professional finish the cut
- The relatives bless the baby with well wishes for happiness, health, and safety
- The baby will be put in the prepared crib
Modern day shaving ceremony
The ceremony has been widely minimized to fit a contemporary lifestyle. Instead of finding an auspicious day, the ceremony is often performed the day when their baby turns 1 month old. The ceremony is kept small, for close family members only. The modernized ceremony requires;
- A razor
- A comb
- A lotus leaf to hold the hair
- Pea flowers
First, the parents would shave the baby’s hair and eyebrows and put them on the lotus leaf. The leaf is then floated away in the river. Parts of the hair are usually kept near the baby as it is believed to help conjure spiritual guardians to protect the baby, lead the baby’s future to greatness and help it become easier to raise.
Do you need to do it?
The ceremony is not a necessity. If you believe in it and have the time and resources, it could create a special bonding experience for your family.
Is it dangerous?
Shaving the baby’s head early on is not dangerous, but you do need to be very careful of certain things if you decide to have the ceremony
- Use a very safe razor, preferably ones with safety features.
- Don’t put candles or incense close to the baby as it might cause irritation.
- If you are having many people over, make sure everyone washes their hands before touching the baby.