Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

Categories: Asia | Fashion

The tradition of women of Uzbekistan to braid pigtails is not one hundred years old. In the middle of the 20th century, this custom gradually began to lose its position, but, despite everything, it still lives. In cities, owners of traditional hairstyles are more difficult to meet, but in rural areas there are no problems with this. What is the reason for the tradition of Uzbek women to braid a lot of braids and is there any benefit from this?

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

If you had the opportunity to look at the hairstyles of Uzbek women up close, you probably noticed that their pigtails are different from the usual ones. They are smooth, dense and have a special shape. Many people explain this by national characteristics or special care, but they are mistaken. The main reason for the difference between Uzbek and our braids is the weaving technology.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

When braiding braids, Uzbek women use special threads called "zhamalak". These are very ancient accessories that scientists have found in the hair of girls depicted in the frescoes of Penjikent, painted in the 5th-8th centuries.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

Zhamalak is made of silk or cotton threads. The fibers are twisted together and painted black. The length of the thread is exactly 50 cm, and at the end they make a brush or string several beads.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

Uzbek braids do not negatively affect hair growth, because they begin to be braided not from the roots, but by retreating 5-7 cm. Therefore, a woman can wear a traditional hairstyle all her life and it will not affect the blood circulation of the scalp and the vitality of the hair in any way. Zhamalak is woven into the hair from the middle of the braid – they give it shape and shine.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

The custom of braiding pigtails is connected with the fact that in Uzbekistan since ancient times, women have not had the right to appear in the eyes of men with loose hair. Therefore, everyone was braiding pigtails, from little girls to old ladies. Today, this custom is not observed by everyone and it is much easier to meet an elderly woman with a traditional hairstyle than a young person.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

In the cities, the bearers of pigtails are rare – mostly they are participants of folklore ensembles or women who came from the periphery. But in rural areas, the custom still lives, although fewer and fewer Uzbeks adhere to it every year.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

For women of Central Asia, pigtails are not just an ornament and a tribute to customs, but also a comfort. When the hair is constantly braided, there is no need to wash it often, since it does not get greasy even in extreme heat. Additionally, women in Uzbekistan wash their hair with sour milk or katyk – from this they become strong and healthy, thick and do not turn gray for a long time.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

In the old days, the circumcision of braids for a woman was a terrible punishment. The shame of losing her hair accompanied her all her life. They could cut off their braids for serious offenses that cast a shadow on the reputation of the family. Often, such an execution was followed by expulsion from his native home or even from the village.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

The number of braids depended on the age of the woman and her marital status. Unmarried girls had 40 braids, and those who got married had only 2. After 80 years, the lady again had the right to braid 40 braids, as in her youth. If earlier they spoke about young years and the absence of a spouse, then for older women they symbolized life experience and venerable age.

Why do Uzbek women braid a lot of pigtails

Although now in Uzbekistan they treat the choice of hairstyles much easier, long hair in this country remains in high esteem, even if it is not braided. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find specialists in weaving real braids with zhamalak now, although all women used to own this skill.

Keywords: Asia | Girls | Fashion | Traditions | Hairstyle | Uzbekistan | Central Asia

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