Thailand: DON’T cut that hair!

I’m walking up the driveway and see Pancake sweeping the porch. I call out to her. I am hot, sweating, and marginally “hangry”, irritated that my plan for the afternoon has been thwarted.

“Hey, Pancake! I just walked all over town, and every barbershop is closed. What, why? I just wanted to get a quick trim, my ends are long.”

I hold out the end of my ponytail as proof for her to see. She looks at me and then gives me that silly look I tend to get so often.

“It’s Wednesday. They all closed Wednesday. Bad luck, nobody cut hair on Wednesday.”

This, of course, triggered my immediate curiosity, and I began asking all of my Thai friends about it. I found two possible explanations on the origin of this superstition.

Explanation #1:

An old Thai saying that took root

“Wan put haam tad, wan paruehat haam thon”
“Don’t cut on Wednesday, and don’t pull out on Thursdays”

Thailand has always been, and is still today, an agricultural society with a large rural population that depends on the land and farming as their way of life. In ancient Siamese culture, people believed that Wednesday was the day of agriculture, and the “Wan put haam tad, wan paruehat haam thon” saying originated from that time. Thais are generally a superstitious folk, and because it was believed that cutting crops was bad luck on that day, it seems cutting anything (like hair) also became a possible reason for bad luck to visit you.

Explanation #2:

The Royal appointment

While not as popular a belief, I did hear this explanation a couple of times. Apparently, throughout the generations, the Thai king would traditionally have his hair cut on Wednesdays. That day became known as the king’s day to get his haircut, and it was thought disrespectful to have your hair cut on the same day.

No matter where this superstition originated, it is such a strong element in the culture that I searched everywhere and could not find a barber shop that was open. Prachuap Khiri Khan tends to be a traditional Thai town, so I am not very surprised. I have heard that in more urban places, like the malls of Bangkok, they have forgone this belief, and you can find barber shops that are open on Wednesdays just like any other day.

It is up to you whether to test this superstition, but I was informed that there are more auspicious days for a trim. While I cannot speak to the truth of this list, a friend gave it to me, and I thought I would pass it along.

Auspicious Days

  • Mondays

    Will bring you a long life.

  • Tuesdays

    Will bring you power.

  • Wednesdays

    Will bring you bad luck.

  • Thursdays

    You will be protected by guardian spirits.

  • Fridays

    You will never want for anything.

  • Saturdays

    Will bring you admiration.

  • Sundays

    Also will bring you a long life.

What do you think? What day would you get your haircut?

Till next week, folks.
And remember, never stop surprising people with small acts of kindness.

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