The Origin of Unique Hair Wash Custom of the Thai Women in Vietnam

To every Thai woman, hair wash and hair care are considered as unique forms of art.

A Custom of Loyalty and Love

Just by looking at the hair of the Thai women, we can tell which one is married and which one is single. All married Thai women have to wear a top bun on her head and hardly drop their hair down since they become wedded. Thanks to secret techniques in twisting hair as well as silver hairpins, Thai women can make the surprisingly neat buns.

These hairpins not just are the jewelry but also show the social status of a woman. The hair becomes one of thedistinctive features of Thai women. Every woman here has a very long and well-taken care hair. In the past, they used to wash hair with forest leaves to keep the black color and smooth silky hair. Today, modern customs have arrived at the highland that makes them gradually forget the traditional hair washing customs.

The hair wash of a wife is conceived to closely relate to her husband’s life, especially when he’s working in a remote and dangerous places. Therefore, the wife has to stop washing her hair during the time her husband is away from home to avoid risks. Although the man has to work for 1 to 2 months, his wife still keep her hair totally dry and wait until he gets home.


A Family Secret

There is a well-kept family secret told from generation to generation about how to make the bun always clean and dry without dandruff. It is simple yet extremely effective: using rice water for hair wash. The special water must be condensed liquid coming from sticky rice and only used after two days when the smell emanated.

The woman abstains from hair wash not only during her husband’s absence but also in three days in Tet holidays or during family funerals. When a parent dies, his/her daughter and daughter-in-law are not allowed to wash their hair until the funeral is ended. Besides hair washing, every women in the family have to take a shower with her clothes on. Despite that, Thai women normally take a nude bath in the streams.

During the New Year, they consider washing their hair as a disrespectful posture to the dead ancestors. Therefore, the hair must be completely washed before the 28th day of Tet. After three days of Tet, they are allowed to wash their hair and take a bath as usual when the dead already left.



Maintaining the Old Custom in the Modern Life

With the development of the society, many customs of the Thai have become primitive, including the hair washing. Today, like any other young girls, the Thai women use common shampoos and more advanced methods to clean their hair. Only the elderly sometimes apply condensed rice water to their hair to keep it thick and shiny.

Thai men have now traveled and worked for years in many regions in the country. Thus, many wives cannot wait until their husbands came back home to wash their hair. The old customs are gradually faded in their mind. During Motorbike Tours Vietnam, rider will have chance to ride through villages of Thai people or even do home-stay with them in their stilt house, this can help you discover this meaningful hair washing customas well as other interesting aspects of the Vietnamese culture.

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