Why Balinese Babies are Bald ?

Posted on Posted in Bali, ceremonies

Perhaps you noticed…Or you will when you will be here, local babies are all bald or with really, really short hair.

Probably you wonder why ? in Hindus believes there are actually a multitude of reasons to shave the babies hairs.

The main one would be spiritual and an other one would be esthetic.

Esthetic because when the hair grows again after being shaved It is believe to grow thicker. To Balinese thicker hair are a sign that the baby is healthy and a sign of beauty. And as like Balinese say : the hair is the crown of a lady !

Spiritual because when a baby born he/she goes through his mum’s secret area, which one is consider dirty.

When giving birth, the head, and especially the hair, are what come out first. It, then becomes spiritually soiled. By shaving the hair, the baby will become clean and then be able to enter temples and sacred places. This is also the reason why we never see very young babies in temples, if a big ceremony occurs before the baby had time to get his/her hair cut, the new born and his/her mum will stay home.

When willing to go pray in a temple, there are a few rules to observe. Women in periods and who gave birth less than 42 days ago and not-yet-shaved babies are consider dirty and not allowed to go in. So, If you never shave your babies hair, he or she will never be able to go pray inside a temple, such a thing is, of course, impossible to accept for Hindus who are strongly believers in their beautiful religion and practice it daily by crafting pretty offerings to offer the Gods and Devils alike.

Traditionally a new born will have her/his head shaved 3 times. The baby is supposed to get shaved at each of his/her big ceremonies, starting from the 3 months one, followed by his first Otonan (Balinese’s Hindu’s birthday) at 6 months and by the next one, at one year. Each village has little bit different rules and habits and the time of shaving can differ. We know some villages where they start shaving at the first Ottonan only and do it then again at the 2 Ottonans that follow.

To understand why, first, let me remind you that Hindus divide the spiritual world into 3 other worlds, the bad Spirits world or Undeground world as we can call it, the Human world and the Gods world (in Bahasa Bali we call those worlds: Bhur, Bwah, Swah).

We shave 3 times to respect the 3 different worlds, as simply as that.

Balinese culture is very interesting and if you try to understand it a bit you will realise that the Gods, Devils and the nature are always linked together. As it should be.