Religion Past and Present

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(343 words)

[German Version]

The care and style of one's hair is governed by the conventions prevailing at any one time, and a full head of hair is regarded everywhere as a sign of health, while its loss through violence or age is seen as dishonor or as powerlessness and decreasing vitality. This has resulted in hair being ascribed with a fairly constant symbolic and magical significance. As the hair (and nails) also continue growing shortly after death, they are seen as bearing the power to maintain and raise vitality (Fertility). This is why cutting the hair and shaving may be forbidden, eit…

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Hoheisel, Karl, “Hair”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 03 July 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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