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Why is it that people shave babies' head, be it a boy or girl, when they go for the baby's first haircut? According to my sub religion i.e. Vaishnav (Gujarati), we call it as a Mundan (Head shaving ceremony).

This is done after a specific period of time after the birth of the child, and as far as I know, most of the Hindu sub castes follow this pratha (tradition/practice).

According to me, Hindus shave their head when some relative, or a close member of their family dies.

So what's the reason behind shaving the hair off for the first time after the birth of the baby?

  • As per my reading, it is a respect shown towards God by sacrificing their beauty (it seems Hindus believe tonsure as ugliness). and also when elders die they show respect and dignity towards the passed one. – Mr_Green Jun 29 '14 at 11:02
  • According to me they shave head of newborn baby because past birth history is stored in the hair as it may affect life in this birth – user4170 Nov 16 '15 at 17:47
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    Actually what I heard is lil bit of science... They say the dirt ll be accumulated in scalp while the baby is in uterus and during birth..this has to done by means of headshave as it cleans the scalp by removal of hairs and layer of dead cells – user5260 Apr 7 '16 at 19:34
  • In Rajput families ears are also pierced at Time of Mundan ceromony. Also Janeoo( sacred thread is also worn by the kid. Is this true. – user7598 Sep 6 '16 at 3:08
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As per the scripture, it is done for the spiritual benefit of the child in the first or the third year after his/her birth:

As per the direction of the revealed texts, the chuda karma (tonsure) must be performed, for the sake of spiritual merit (observing dharma), by all twice-born men in their first or third year. [Manu - 2.35]

As per the mantras used while performing chuda karma, the benefits are longevity of life, freedom from diseases and attainment of strength, health, vigor and good progeny.

  • Is there any inner significance apart from believing it as a samskara ? – Ganesh Sep 6 '16 at 6:09
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It's part of Saṃskāra, which are said to be a purification process. There are 16 Saṃskāra and Chudakarana (Mundan/First Hair cutting) is one of them. Some believes says birth hairs are undesired traits from the past births and this ceremony is used to set the child free from past birth.

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It is a part of shodasa samskaras prescribed by the scriptures as the users above explained very well. But I want to say a thing. The shave is called as Kesha Khandanam when hair is offered to god as a sacrifice or in auspicious situations like first shave.

It is called as shiromundanam when hair is removed during inauspicious situations (when someone passed away) and to insult anyone. There is also an example of shiromundanam in Mahabharata. Jayadhratha (sindhu naresh) tries to abduct draupadi in the absence of Pandavas. After sometime Bhima and Arjuna rescue Draupadi. Bhima punishes him by his mighty blows. . As a symbol of insult in their hands, Bhima shaves the hair of Jayadhratha with a crescent shaped arrow with five tufts at as many places and drives him to their hermitage in the chariot. Yudhishtira orders Bhima not to kill him and set him free. Yudhishtira tells Saindhava not to do such lustful things again. The Sindhu naresh bows to Yudhishtira and the sages and leaves the place sorrowfully.

Source- Draupadi harana parva from Mahabharata.

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Raja Janmeja invited 18 high ranking brahim priests to a Jaagu, for a blessing. Brahmins and Sadhu's of India carried their unshorn hair on their head as a top-knot.

Raja Janmeja and his Rani were serving the brahmins with food. For a reason related to the clothes of the Rani, the brahmins broke out in laughter. The Raja felt humiliated and got annoyed with the invited brahmins to a point that he wanted to assassinate all of the high ranking priests. The Raja's adviser told him that this act for blessing would turn into a sinful act.

The adviser told the Raja to spare the brahmins but to assassinate their unshorn hair instead. At conclusion of the Jaagu the brahmins hatched a plan to justify their shaven heads with a small tuft/bodi/ sikha of unshorn hair.

Upon their return they preached that at this great spiritual gathering it has been revealed to them that hair should be shaved as an act of purification. The tradition of shaving the head was instigated amongst the followers.

  • 3
    Please add some sources link to your answer. – Kedarnath Feb 5 '15 at 2:01

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