Postrizhyny in Slavic tradition

Postrizhyny is the ancient Slavic ritual of the first haircut for a boy. In Serbia and Montenegro it was called “стрижене”, in Russia “пострижины”, in Bulgaria and Macedonia “стрижба”, in Poland “postrzyżyny”. This rite included cutting off strands of hair, magical rituals with it, dressing up a child in new clothes, exchanging gifts, good wishes, fortune-telling about the future, etc.

For Russians, the ritual hair cutting coincided with the beginning of the teachings – the knowledge transfer from the adults. Postrizhyny marked the recognition of the child as a person. Written sources testify about postrizhyny of 5–7-year-old sons of the nobility, which had an initiatory character and reflected family ties and customary law. For example, postrizhyny of Yuri and Yaroslav, the sons of the East Slavic duke Vsevolod (years 1192 and 1194), as well as the Czech duke Václav. After the ritual haircut, the prince was put into the saddle of his father’s horse, “so that he could step into his father’s stirrup”, in other words to follow his father steps. This meant the recognition of the son by the father. Also, the father’s shirt was put on him, and the whole ceremony was followed by a feast. Gallus Anonymus also describes postrizhyny of the legendary founder of the Polish Piast dynasty – Siemowit.

And how was the first haircut for you or for your children?

To be continued…
Artist: Małgorzata Lewandowska https://www.instagram.com/art_by_goria/
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