Cutting Hairs in the 1st Lunar Month


DerShann is currently a student at USC, majoring in Philoshophy. His family are from Tsingtao, Shandong, China. He likes to play the game League of Legends, and the following folklore is collected during some of the games we played together via the voice chat chanel.

The Main Piece:

DerShann: Let me think of some folklore…… Right! If you cut your hair in the 1st lunar month, your uncle (from the mother’s side) dies.

Me: Yea, I know. Do you really believe that?

DerShann: Well, not really. But I do try not to cut my hair in the first month, to kind of show respect for my uncle, and also, this is like some kind of tradition, and it’s fun to keep it.


This is, of course, a folk belief. That your uncle will die if you cut your hair in THE 1st lunar month. But, personally, I would also want to classify it as a proverb:

the original text is :正月剃头死舅舅

Phonetic:zheng yue ti tou si jiu jiu

Translation: If you cut your hair in the 1st lunar month, your uncle dies.

The key her is that “tou” rhymes with “jiu” in Chinese. And I do believe this sentence is used to warn people, but not really about cutting their hairs or about their uncles.

Zheng yue, the 1st lunar month, is the month that follows the Chinese New Year. Baiscally, the whole month is going to be filled with holiday atmosphere, and everyone’s supposed to have a good rest and prepare for the next year, and, of course, be with their family. Getting your hair cut can be an inconvenient thing: you must leave your home and go to a barber, the barber has to cut your hair, etc. And even if you don’t cut your hair, it’s not that much of a big deal. So I think the act of cutting one’s hair actually represents spending lots of time and efforts on business matters that are not urgent, which in a way ruins the Chinese New Year Experience. So, with my understanding of these words as a proverb, it is warning people to put off unnecessary works during the New Year.