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Superstitions Connected with Hair

Superstition insists that hair has a mythical link with the body even after it is cut off. This connection gives it great potential in folk magic. There are numerous associated taboos and traditions connected with hair.



Let's begin with hair color:

1. A red-haired person is widely held to have an irascible temper. This is in reference to the red-haired Judas Iscariot or the Norse invaders of Britain. Though he or she may also be courageous and it is considered lucky to run your fingers through someone's red hair.

2. Fair hair is a sign of a weak nature.

3. Black hair suggests great strength and virility and is also lucky.

Whatever the hair color, however, it remains unwise to pluck out any odd gray hairs that appear because ten more will grow in its place.



Now, let's look into the hair style:

1. People with straight hair are said to be cunning.

2. Those with curly hair are good tempered.

3. Those with a cowlick curl are said to be naturally lucky.

4. Any woman who suddenly develops curls at the temples where her hair was previously straight is warned to look to her husband's health because it's a sign that he doesn't have long to live.

5. Those who would like curly hair, meanwhile, are advised to eat crusts of newly baked bread.

6. Girls with exceptionally long hair were once warned that "with hair below the knee never a bride to be."

7. Having bushy hair suggests that the person is dim-witted because the hair is diverting nourishment that should go to the brain.



As for the matter of a child with two crowns:

1. The Welsh believe the child with be lucky in money matters.

2. The Scottish believe the child will never drown.

3. The English believe it means the infant will live in more that one country.

A woman whose hair grows into a point on the forehead is said to have a "widow's peak," an ill omen which indicates that she is destined to become a widow. The same conclusion may be drawn from a parting that suddenly appears in a girl's hair where there was previously none.



For the guys, listen up:

1. A hairy chest or luxurious facial hair is widely held to be a sign of strength and is therefore lucky. This is why in ancient times victorious soldiers sometimes hacked the beards off their enemies.

2. Those with a lot of hair on the arms and on the backs of the hands are destined to enjoy considerable wealth.

3. Hair on the palms of the hand is a sign of madness.

Looking after hair involves the observance of different taboos:

1. The Scottish say that women must never comb their hair after dark if she has friends and family at sea because this will bring them into terrible danger.

2. In America, it is considered vital that hats should not be too tight because this will cause hair to thin.

Hair that is trimmed when the moon is waxing will grow back quickly, but hair that is cut when the moon is on the wane will stay short and may lose its shine.



When thinking about cutting your hair, remember this old English rhyme:

Best never enjoyed if Sunday shorn,
And likewise leave out Monday.
Cut Thursday and you'll never grow rich,
Likewise on a Saturday.
But live long if shorn on a Tuesday
And best of all is Friday.

Although, this rhyme doesn't account for the superstition that says never cut your hair on a Good Friday. And cutting one's own hair is unlucky, while seafarers believe that cutting their hair at sea will bring about a storm.

Disposal of cut hair is just as important because a small amount may be used by a witch to obtain control over the person from whom the hair came from. Simply boiling a strand of hair will oblige the owner to come to the witch or sorcerer, whether he or she wants to or not. By burning the hair in a ritual ceremony, a witch might cause excruciating pain on the person.



One variant involves including a few strands of hair in a wax image representing the person from whom the hair has come, and then, holding the figure in a flame to inflict intense burning pain and even cause death. A defense against such a threat is to cut off some hair, or more drastically, part of a finger as a sacrifice to ward off further harm. Witches themselves were sometimes shorn of all their body hair in accordance with a superstition that this would rob them of their supernatural powers.

The safest method to dispose of cut hair is to bury it. This is better than burning it because the soul of the person the hair belongs to is still needed on Judgement Day. Perhaps because of the threat of witchcraft, no person should keep a lock of his or her own hair or that of their children, for this promises them a premature death.

If a bird obtains so much as a single human hair to help make a nest, the person who owns the hair will be afflicted with a severe headache. If the bird is a magpie, according to the folklore of Devon, that person will die within a year.

Some people claim that a single strand plucked from the head may be used for divination. The procedure is to draw hair tight between the nails of the forefinger and thumb and then to release it. If the hair curls up, this is proof of pride or the prophecy that the person concerned will enjoy considerable riches.



Alternatively, two girls may secretly meet in complete silence between the hours of midnight and one o'clock in the morning and pluck out a hair for each year they have so far lived. These hairs are then burned on the fire one by one while the girls speak the words:

I offer this my sacrifice to him most precious in my eyes,
I charge thee now come forth to me that I this minute may see thee.

It is said that an apparition of the girl's future husband will materialize.

Observing how the strand of hair burns when thrown into the fire will also reveal how long a person has to live. If the hair burns quickly and brightly, then the person concerned has many years left to go. If the hair refuses to burn, this may be taken as a sign that the owner is fated to die by drowning.

Okay, that was a long one! Pardon the pun. Didn't think there would be that many superstitions about hair. You know what, dear reader, I'm having fun. I think I will start a Superstition Saturday for this blog. Stay tuned for more updates on superstitions. :-)
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7 comments:

  1. This is very interesting stuff. It might really help in terms of designing characters for my writing. Thanks. ^_^

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  2. So that's what a widow's peak is! Thank you.

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  3. " These hairs are then burned on the fire one by one while the girls speak the words:

    I offer this my sacrifice to him most precious in my eyes,
    I charge thee now come forth to me that I this minute may see thee.

    It is said that an apparition of the girl's future husband will materialize."

    That would scare the crap out of me. lol. Though, I am tempted to try this. *snickers* And you know, I believe that one about 10 more gray hairs growing if you pluck the one out, I see my moms hair when she doesn't die it in a while and feel so guilty for all those gray hairs I plucked out when I was little. lol.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh! What about superstitions regarding pickles?

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  5. I was always told by my aunt to burn any hair that comes out in a comb.

    ReplyDelete

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