29 November 2013

A Hair Cutting Ceremony

Last weekend, my nephew had his first haircut
He's six years old
Let me explain, in Cook Islands tradition little boys don't get their hair cut
When they do, they have a ceremony and a party
I made the invitations ages ago, here's what I put on them
"In Cook Islands tradition, the haircutting ceremony is a rite of passage for young boys. At these large gatherings the boy sits on a chair draped with tīvaevae (quilts). As his hair is cut, members of the community plaster the boy with money or other gifts. The custom serves to maintain reciprocal ties within the extended family and community.
A little bit about what happens at a Pakotianga Rauru or “Hair Cutting” ceremony:
A male representative for each family is called upon to approach the child and his mother will hand you the scissors to snip a strand of hair tied by a white ribbon.
Family members are then encouraged to keep the hair to remind them of the occasion.
Custom states that everyone making a cut contributes something; as one should never come empty-handed. Though it is entirely up to the individual, kin close to ego usually give both an envelope and a gift. The expectation is that their monetary contribution will help him in the future. Gift items are usually of the sort that the boy can use in his daily life or that others can use on his behalf, such as bed-quilts, sets of cups or glasses, appliances and clothing.
The gifts are signified by the family record book, which is usually bound by a ribbon after the event, and set aside for a     future time. When the boy approaches adulthood, he enters the stage of his life where he begins to act as an individual with respect to invitations and  events. For these, he will need reference to the record of those who previously accorded him assistance, so he can judge what obligations he needs to reciprocate.
Please note that this information is purely educational, we do not expect anyone to bring a gift.
After the hair is cut, there will be a few speeches and then dinner"
So that's what happened!
We turned up and straight away I grabbed my little namesake off someone for some photos
Isn't she adorable?
Then found my nephew all braided up and super excited to get a haircut!
He sat like this for at least an hour, waiting so patiently!!
In case your wondering, yes we removed the hood to cut his hair, but those photos turned out too blurry
One his hair was attacked by the many visitors, the hairdresser arrived to save the day!
Turning this:
and this:
Into this:
Isn't he handsome?
Of course big sister had to have a photo in her pretty dress too
and for the first time EVER, I managed to get a photo of my brother and his girlfriend
I'm so pleased to be able to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime event!

1 comment:

  1. Hi my name is Dominique I i'm new to your blog
    and I love haw you told about your family.