Posted by Native Carolinian (other posts) on June 19, 2017 at 04:50:20 Previous Next
In Reply to: Hair on Board! [PIC] posted by doninisrael on June 18, 2017 at 01:43:02:
: Not exactly a good hair picture, since in it my hair is tied back and not really visible. But I thought I'd post because I just returned from a one-week sailboat charter in Greece with my sailing club (Anthony, take note!) and had a great time.
: Although long haired men are not common in Greece, it seems they are less UNcommon than in other countries where I've been recently: Australia, the USA, and Israel. In Greece, one occasionally even sees older men who are balding on top, un-self-consciously wearing whatever hair remains for them long and untrimmed. I'd noticed this when I lived in Greece many years ago - I left 29 years ago and hadn't been back until last week - and was pleased to see it was still the case.
I saw what you wrote about long hair in Greece. Greece is a majority Orthodox Christian country. Orthodox Christianity does not frown on men having long hair. Many Orthodox Christian monks have long hair as well as Orthodox Christian Deacons, Priests, Bishops and Patriarchs. In Orthodox Christian monasticism a tonsure of the hair is done (it is cut) on the four sides of the head (front, back, over left and right ears/at the temples). At some Orthodox Christian monasteries the local tradition is to completely shave one's head for the tonsure, this tradition is per each monastery and each abbot. Then, in many cases, a hair cut is never had again and many monks do not shave their beard either as a sign of renouncing the world and living solely for God. In many majority Orthodox Christian countries as well as in the the rest of the world where Orthodox Christians are found, some Orthodox Christian Laymen do not cut their hair either in imitation of the Orthodox Christian monastic tonsure.
Thus, in Orthodox Christian culture (and yes one can use culture in the same sense as one can say Jewish culture, as Orthodox Christianity is a way of life), long hair is not seen as a sign of effeminacy. It is often regarded as a person living a holy way. The difference between how men and women wear their hair long is in the styling and adornment. Thus, one would probably very rarely if ever see an Orthodox Christian man with a fancy up-do, golden combs, gold threading or some such adornment in their hair. Such adornment would almost certainly be seen as effeminate. African style hair for example with combs in it in a traditional way, would be more than likely be seen as something cultural and not effeminate. In a situation like African style hair, the person would probably be asked about it once only, and if they said that it is normal for men in their culture to do that, then that would be established and probably not commented on again in that person's parish except by a new person. The new person would be told the situation and if they made trouble about it, the priest could possibly become involved in order to make the matter clear.
Finding this out about long hair in Orthodox Christian communities was for me was a relief. I am American Indian and I have long hair in a traditional way either loose way or in a pony tail down the back (usually unbraided). At this point my hair is almost waist length and it is not a problem for me as an Orthodox Christian Layman.
One thing that I find fascinating, is that in Orthodox Christian living, oiling the beard and hair as adornment for men is allowed and seen as healthy. Since the oil helps keep the hair in the beard and top of head looking kempt and healthy, it is not regarded as effeminate.
Additionally, it is traditional in Orthodox Christianity for women to cover their heads in Churches since it is seen as their main adornment. Some Orthodox Christian women will always wear a scarf over their hair in public as an expression of Orthodox Christian piety, as is exemplified in the case of Orthodox Christian nuns. Men on the other hand, are not seen as having the hair of the top of their head as an adornment and so men do not cover their head.
Another fascinating thing is that many Orthodox women highly respect men who have long hair. One reason for this is many see the man as showing piety by not cutting his hair. Some of the thinking seems to be that if a man is always getting a hair cut, he is in great participation with the world. If the man is allowing his hair to grow long, he is not following the latest styles and trends and is allowing himself to be in a natural state. This is why among many Orthodox Christians of European and Arabic descent (yes there are still many Orthodox Palestinians and Syrians as I have met them in the U.S., although they usually get over-looked and under-reported in the Western Press) encourage men not to shave their beards. If one is keeping up with the facial hair style trends, that same time being used to this end is likely not being dedicated to God. So, in Orthodox Christian majority countries and communities around the world, one sees a vast difference in attitude to manliness than is usually seen in the non-Orthodox Christian majority West.
I just want to be clear that this is NOT a post with any other aim except to relate to your post regarding long hair in majority Orthodox Christian countries such as Greece. I hope Adonai Eloheinu blesses you Don. Be well :)