Removal or shaving of hair is an important
ritual in Hinduism. It is performed after birth, during Upanayanam, Godana and
during antyeshti or funeral rites. The hair is not completely removed – a tuft
of hair is left on the crown.
The tonsuring of hair is known as Chaula.
The first tonsuring is carried out in the house at the first
or third year of the birth of the child. This rite is one of the forty
purificatory rites a Hindu should undergo. In some regions, it is performed
before the family deity.
During the upanayana ritual facial hair and hair on the front
part of the head is removed. In some communities the entire hair is removed
except for the tuft of hair on the crown.
Godana or Kesanta consists of shaving the head and other
body parts before marriage. This is restricted to few Hindu communities.
When parents or a relative dies, one has to remove the hair
on the tenth day after the death.
Apart from this, people remove hair when visiting holy
places and temples.
Hair is also removed when one takes up asceticism.
It must be noted here that all the above said might not be
practiced by all Hindus.