Is This Why Hindus Shave Their Head Post An Elder Person’s Death In Their Family?

A person born in a Hindu family knows the number of rituals they have to follow right from their birth. There are rituals that need to be followed even after the death of one of the elderly members of the family and one of those post-death rituals is shaving the head.

Mundan, as they call it, is the ritual of shaving the head post the death of an elderly member in the family.

Varanasi, India - August 12, 2011: a Hindu devotees head is shaved as part of the religious cleansing process following the death of a family member. This rite was photographed on the bank of the river Ganges in Varanasi, India.

For years together, people have practised this ritual in for two different members. One is where the wife of the deceased gets her hair shaved as a sign of permanent widowhood. In this case, the woman is not allowed to grow her hair and is expected to stay bald until the end of her life. In the other one, the son of the deceased or the man performing the last rites gets his hair shaved, however, this lasts only for the days of mourning.

It is believed that shaving off the hair helps men to let go of their ego. It gives them a sense of responsibility and reminds them to be obedient and become more selfless while performing their deeds. For the outsiders or those unaware of the incident, mundan also shows that some unanticipated incident has taken place in their family.

Some people also believe that removal of hair psychologically prepares a person for the life ahead with much positivity. It emotionally prepares a person to provide guidance to the family because of sudden detachment and thus prepares them for the change. For some, it is also a mark of respect paid to the deceased or a mark of gratitude for the deceased to get the highest amount of satisfaction for their soul.

Varanasi, India - April 29th, 2009: Unidentified Indian men after cremation of their relative in Varanasi, India on April 29, 2009.

With time, people have changed and hence, despite being one of the oldest rituals, there are very few people who continue to follow this even today.

Source: ST.

Image Source: iStock.