10 Holy Hairstyles

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10 Holy Hairstyle

 

For millennia, people have used hair as a social identifier. Frequently, these grooming techniques become charged with religious meaning. A hairstyle can signify a covenant, or it can be part of a ritual cleansing. So long as people have hair, it will continue to have spiritual significance.

10Jata

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Photo credit: Luca Galuzzi

In Hinduism, rishis and sadhus wear matted locks called “jata” as a sign of commitment to escaping the cycle of rebirth. These matted locks signify a covenant between the wearer and Shiva, the god of destruction and regeneration. They are part of a larger commitment to aesthetic life including renunciation of worldly possessions and celibacy.

Jata are often worn up, in a bundle that resembles a turban. Maintenance is more challenging than most assume. These locks must be washed every two to three days to avoid lice infestation. In southern India, some women known as Shiva Sathulu — or Shiva’s wives — wear jata as a sign of their devotion to their divine husband. Some theorize that matted locks have been worn in India for 2,500 years.

 

 

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