Why Long Hair Is Coveted By Men In Hawaii

When most people imagine a boy having his first haircut, it’s usually when the child is a toddler. Visions of an impatient and rebellious child wriggling around and turning his head in every direction is something most parents conjure up in anticipation of their son’s first trip to the barber shop. Hawaiians, however, do things a little differently. Young Hawaiian boys typically have to wait until they’re teenagers to receive their first haircut, by which time they’ve grown rather attached to their beautiful long locks. It’s a Polynesian custom that represents the boy’s coming-of-age process, where he is to embrace his new masculine identity and become a man. Traditionally, this ritual has spiritual symbolism for Polynesians, who believe in Mana — a strong spiritual force of energy. They believe that their hair contains Mana, so it’s culturally rare to have a reason to cut their hair. When the time comes for a boy’s first haircut, it’s normally done by family members in a ceremony. When Christianity is part of the family’s culture, a priest can be included in the ritual, offering blessings and even taking the first cut. With each cut, the child is covered with money from guests, which is used to pay for expenses before being gifted to the boy. Afterwards, there is a feast to celebrate the boy’s passing from childhood into manhood.