It is definitely fair to say that over the last few years, beards have been enjoying a renaissance. And while some argue that they’reon their way out, that we have reached ‘peak beard’, I’m here to tell you that facialfuzz will never go out of style. Because although “beard culture” may be a relatively newterm, men’s facial hair has actually been an vital part of cultural and religious identity around the world for centuries. Take Islam for example.
Now, the Quran doesn’t specifically say men should wear beards but the Prophet Mohammed said, “Differ from the polytheists:let your beards (grow), and trim your mustache”. This style - reportedly worn by the Prophet himself some 1,400 years ago - is one that is still rocked by Muslim men today.
Some,even dye theirs with henna like the Prophet used to. And it’s thought that this bright ginger beard was another way that Muslim men could distinguish themselves from Christians and Jews.
Which brings me to the facial landscaping of Hasidic Jews. This ultra-orthodox sect,wear beards along with distinctive clothing and hairstyles. The look is used to differentiate Hasidic Jews from everyone else, which I actually discussed in a previous video if you want to check it out. Along with being an identifier, some also believe it has a deep spiritual meaning with one Rabbi saying, “The beard is hair that grows down from the head to the rest of the body.
We don’t cut the beard, but rather let it flow freely, to open a direct flow from the ideals and philosophies of our minds into our everyday lifestyle. ” And Hasidic Jews and Muslims are not the only ones who see the beard as a sacred symbol. The Sikhs have men’s facial hair practically written into their scripture. In 1669, one of the ten spiritual founders of the religion, Guru Gobind Singh, is reported to have said“My Sikh shall not use the razor. For him the use of a razor or shaving the chin shall be as sinful as incest. ” Devout Sikhs won’t even cut their hair, believing that their mane is a gift from god.
So what about Christians? I mean Jesus was one of the most famous beard wearers of all time -- not to mention Abraham, Solomon and Moses! But, despite these strong endorsements, Christianity has a hard time deciding if beards are saintly or sinful. The dispute goes back centuries and Pope Alexander III even went as far as to ban beards from the clergy in 1170. But, today, theological beards are a hit with Christian hipsters - with entire blogs dedicated to the cause, quoting St Augustine who said “The beard signifies the courageous; the beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous.”So there you have it, beards are not a trend, or a fad, they’re a divine gift from the gods. at least, that’s what I like to tell myself!But hey, religious significance doesn’t just stop at beards! Lots of religions have clothes that come with special meaning. One very noticeable group are the Hasidic Jews,who sport appearances that seriously stand out from the rest of society.