Why you should tonsure (shave), particularly for baby?

Joaquin y sus 9 meses
Following overwhelming response of “Why you shouldn’t cut nails during New Moon day (Amavasya)?” – We are continuously getting more request for writing new articles on various lifestyle practices. In those lines, let us explore an activity that is very important for newborn and for adult – tonsure (or cut hair).

Tonsuring is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp. This is done from infants to adults. Tonsuring is practiced in, all most all, religions. It is always connected with events of life style. It is so very important that it became one of the sixteen samsara known as chudakarana. There are plenty of meaning why our ancestors had given importance to this practice and their associated religious stories – you either ask your granny or Google it to know more.

aaradhanaLet us explore from a spiritual and common sense. From our research that is, searching data outside and deep self introspection through meditations, it became very clear and obvious to us that this is more from an medical meaning to it. At the time of birth, if we examine carefully, we will know the skull of an infant is not a single bone, but a collection of 6 bones creating a gap over the skull. Only because of the flexibility of these bones, the baby’s head passes through the birth canal easily during the time of birth. Had it been a single bone, C section would be the only answer. It is really amazing to see nature’s best work!

According to Embryology, these collection of bones create two gaps called as fontanellel. One at the top of the skull and other at the centre of the skull. Now, you might realise why baby’s head top is very soft and usually no one touches it. This gap on the top, called  as, Anterior fontanelle, takes around two and half years to close. The other gap, called as posterior fontanelle, takes around 6-8 weeks to close. Over a period of time, these gaps fill and new bone tissues are created over it to form a fully developed skull.

normal-skull-newbornTo seal the gap efficiently, and nourish the growth of these bones, we need vitamin D. Best source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Hair over the head blocks the sun rays. So if we tonsure, the head is nicely exposed to sunlight allowing to generate enough vitamin D. Probably, that is why in some religion they leave a small portion of hair during tonsure over the gaps to make sure those gaps are not touched in by mistake.

This is one of the reason we always push our parents (in our Holistic Parenting Whatsapp group) to practice at least weekly oil bath. Apart from skull development, tonsure helps in stimulating a healthy blood flow, growth of hair, enhances brain development, nervous systems, free from lice, relief from headaches and pains caused during teething.

To conclude, now, we know why our ancestors insisted to tonsure at regular intervals. Usually the 9th month, 3 years and 5th years. Over a period of time, the real meaning was forgotten and it was done as per convenience or for the sake of respect or wishes from parents or grandparents.

Do share us your belief on tonsure, this will be useful for all other parents.

Author: Velu Jayaprakash

Velu Jayaprakash is a social entrepreneur, product manager, techy, photographer, meditator, father of two angels, ancient wisdom seeker, holistic adviser and Soul coach. You can reach him at velu.jayaprakash AT gmail DOT com

47 thoughts on “Why you should tonsure (shave), particularly for baby?”

    1. read the blog. it is not month, it is the skull development. when you notice the top of the head is closed, you can do it in any odd months.

  1. I strongly feel this is a very outdated tradition and I apologize in advance if I offend anyone including the author. With all due respect the reason that I keep coming across is that the baby’s hair is “dirty” (as in bacteria, etc.) because it grew in the womb, and more so the hair somehow is connected to the past life. Both these reason, but specially the “dirty” one makes me really upset because I find that thinking is very superstitious, and furthermore it incredibly disrespects a mother’s womb, and the women her self. And how can ONLY hair be connected to past life, what about the rest of the body and our soul? Our souls do not change, we just keep taking birth into new bodies and it is really up to us in that lifetime to either chose a self awareness path and break the old patterns. And a newborn – notice we say “NEWborn” is already pure, clean, and intelligent the moment he or she was conceived.

    Lastly, the vitamin D – I agree with exposing babies to sun but if shaving and exposing them to the sun was the only way then what about the rest of the babies in the world?

    Again, please understand I mean no disrespect, I’m just looking for answers.

    1. thanks for being honest with your views. We need parents like you to come join our group so that we all can work together to learn. Do join our holistic whatsapp group.

  2. I have got my little one tonsured in 12th month. Since then I have noticed that she whaves very cranky and stubborn at times. Is it due to tonsuring in 12th month, Since it is generally suggested to be done in the first or third or fifth year?

    1. Tonsuring in 1st, 3rd, etc. is a just a thumb rule. each baby is different. Like some baby walk before one years. or some walk little late. but in general, we say 1 years babes talks.

      In same way, behavioral changes is highly unlikely. So do not worry. if the change is very noticeable after some time, check with your Dr.

  3. While I’m sure there could be a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why tonsuring is important, I highly doubt vitamin D is the answer.

    Vitamin D is not produced in a localised manner. Therefore, if you go into the sun wearing a t shirt, it’s not only your arms that get vitamin D. Moreover, if it’s a surface area thing, parents are much better off letting the babies roam around in shorts to maximise sun exposure.

    1. Very interesting observation, We did think through this. The observation of oil into the body at palms, bottom of feet and head are higher. For arugment sake, if you want to increase the body temp. you rub oil at the bottom of the feet, not the whole body. Few dr. agree some do not. it will be interesting to see when someone does experiment to justify this.

  4. Hi… i just wañna ask if parent cut baby hair for 1 time … Now she 22years old girl ready she tonsure because she having less hair problem so she tonsure now for more hair growth.. is it possible for more hair growth.???

    1. It does help. After tonsure make sure you apply coconut oil. Also consult an Ayurveda dr before you make a the decision. all the best.

  5. That was really explanatory… Well explained scitifically. I don’t like to follow these rituals blindly and want a reason or logic behind doing that. We as Indians have tonnes of rituals and beliefs which no one bothers to reason the scientific or logical explanation for. I’m sure gonna follow ur blog for more of these.

  6. If the child’s naked body is exposed to sunlight, with his hair intact, he still can produce Vit D. Is it necessary for there to be direct scalp exposure for some reason ?

    1. Very good question. You might need to expose baby body for long time to produce enough Vit. D. tonsure will speed the process and its direct to location. Hope this helps, we did analysis this point.

  7. Great information for these time ..because now a days people are forgeting the logical n meaningfull rituals that have some sense and are logical.please do continue to share these ancient rituals truth..i have a query that some parents keep their childs hair uncut for 2,3,5 years that is called “BABRI” for those childs who are having babri for several years , do they lack of any kind of growth? Do ans these query

    1. We do not have more scientific data to state here, but from common sense. It was done mostly out of devotion or prayer. usually, these kids are bit spiritual in natural, it would take some time for them adjust to (so called) reality.

  8. Nice article but still doesn’t explain the rationale behind 9 months, 3 years and 5 years. Could you please explain?

    1. It was usual time suggested. 9th month would be the right time, as the first gap closes and the 2nd starts to close. 3 years is completion of both gaps that is 36 months. 60 months is to further enhance it.

      These are average time considering all type of baby, such as delay mail stone, etc..

  9. Thank you for such an awesome explanation…I’m living abroad with a bunch of westerners who thinks they need explanation for each n everything scientifically ( I even had a huge debate regarding this topic 🙂 ) I always felt there is some reason for tonsuring but didn’t know the answer…Please keep up your work…we need people like you who can educate our ancient practices as why it was done and why it should be done…. 🙂

    1. Thanks Aparna that was very kind. The only difference between westerner and Indian thinking is, they think rationally, we think holistically scientific. Stay tuned, there is a lot more to some.

  10. Your post does make sense to some extent. However it is also important to know when to tonsure. We have seen month-old babies getting meningitis because they were tonsured (due to religious reasons) at an age (less than a month) where their immunity isn’t developed. Shaving causes micro cuts on the scalp. The fontanelle provide a direct access to the underlying protective sheath around the brain… That is probably why Turmeric is applied as an antiseptic..

    1. Thanks Dr. Aarti. 9th is advisable. If done on a Aswini Naksatra is the best (it is a long story, which we will write soon).

      They usually apply sandal wood power not turmeric at head will affect the hair growth. That is why women apply at their face to remover facial hairs.

  11. This was Super Awesome….We need more and more useful information. Because the traditions we follow, we don’t know the scientific reason. If we know this useful information, we can educate others.

    1. Thanks Anupama. The knowledge is huge. Our group’s focus is to bring this back to life with scientific meaning (or more common sense) we will continue to do so.

    2. You are absolutely right Anupama! When it comes to traditional rituals, not much information is available but we must understand every ritual has some scientific reason behind it.

    1. it is almost same, best is to do at 9th Month, 35th Month and 60th Month. for girls, at 3 times. Mundan itself is a big topic. As of now why have only explored the science, later we will update with more details in coming days. stay tuned.

    1. Thank you Sunitha. Yes many do it for sake of doing, our group’s core focus is to the dying ancient knowledge back to mainstream.

  12. Now I no ……… Now that u guys r here someone like a guru out there I hv many many many queries unanswered may b now I no where n whom to ask

    1. We are not gurus, everyone has a inner guru we need to listen to :). Please as as many questions as possible, we will share what we know.

      1. Now we understood the meaning of tonsure. Really useful info as nowadays kids will ask lot of questions. Now its easy to answer them. Thank u.

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