There are customs that are fun, customs that are respectful and customs that should have been left in the times they served such as the Gujarati custom in certain castes of not washing your hair during your pregnancy. It still amazes me that women adhere to this custom here in Britain.
The custom is that women who find themselves pregnant will not wash their hair for 7 months. There will then be a religious celebration and a hair washing event in the 7th month followed by no Head and Shoulders again until the baby is 4-6 weeks old.
I cannot imagine what this is like but am thankful that my understanding mother-in-law did not even ask if I would consider adhering to this custom. As compensation, I was asked to give up something for the duration of my pregnancy. So I gave up chocolate!! A relatively small price to pay for being able to wash my hair freely.
The custom stems from the days when women bathed in rivers. It was feared that bending over to wash their hair in the water would damage the baby and that the disease ridden waters would infect both mother and child. To make women adhere to this custom, religious customs were introduced to it.
Today in Britain, most people have showers standing up. Water is clean. There are no fears of babies dying if women washed their hair. So is this custom to pay homage to those mothers and babies who had died or caught a disease, or another custom that has carried on for fear of spiritual retribution?
I do not know the answer to this but I do know that your hair ends up stinking, it is so greasy and flaky, it is itchy and the oils released seem to make your face get spots. Everyone always stares at your greasy hair and people stand a mile away from you because of the stench. God knows what it does for your sex life! I wouldn’t even be able to go to work and address a group of people.
I really think this custom should be left with the dark ages and women should just be left to enjoy their pregnancies.