Postrizhiny – Slavic ritual

Postrizhiny in early childhood were common among all Slavs. The ceremony mainly extended only to boys, but sometimes to children of both genders – and was supposed to provide the child with good development, a happy fate, timely marriage, wealth, etc.

Most often, postrizhiny were done at home by the fireplace with a child sited on a table. The Eastern Slavs could also put child on a bench in the “red corner”. In Bulgaria, the child would be standing on dezha (special wooden tub for sourdough bread making) facing east. Ukrainians would sit the child on the fur coat. A spinning wheel, a comb, threads were put under the fur coat when cutting a girl’s hair, and when cutting a boy’s – a knife, a jointer, scissors, thereby wishing the child to acquire professional skills.

The method of cutting the first hair strands and the accompanying magical practices differ in various Slavic traditions. For example, among the Bulgarians, the one who cut the hair, washed the face of the child with water from a new jug, then “cut” the air with scissors and said (literally “glorified” – a verb derived from “slava”): “So that you grow old and gray, like Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) and like your grandfather in old age”.

What rituals associated with the first haircut of children do you know?

To be continued…