Worlds’ most costly haircut-A A +A
Thursday, April 28, 2011
THE first haircut for a young Ifugao child must be the most expensive in the world. It is called “kolot” in the Tuwali dialect of the ancient township of Kiangan. Only the culturally rich or “kadangyan” can perform such a ritual.
Tradition dictates that before the first strands of hair are cut by the Mumbaki or native priest three medium-size pigs, a water buffalo and chicken are butchered and offered to the spirits of his ancestors and Ifugao deities. Vital signs of acceptance are meticulously scrutinized and analyzed from the bile/s of the pigs. Should any indication show otherwise, another pig or more must be sacrificed and offered until the ancestors and deities are satisfied.
“We are talking of no less than P150,000.00 in expenses to include jars of native wine, liquor and other incidentals that would feed a greater part of the towns’ population” says Nena Bulahao-Dait, grandmother of the honoree. More animals and chicken aside from the required animals must have to be butchered to feed the expected multitude of visitors and guests, she added.
Center in this fading Ifugao ritual is Casey Carson Dait, who at four years of age is sporting beyond shoulder length hair and could be mistaken as a girl. He is the first of two children born to Lysil Balis-Dait and Clyde Dait. Both are residing in Union township and, like their parents; work in the medical field in the State of New Jersey, U.S.A.
Casey may not be aware of what the bustling activities are all about. However, like any kid having a haircut will make the loudest and most expensive tantrums when the Mumbaki does his thing with scissors.
The “Kolot” is set for April 30 at the family house at Pico, Kiangan, Ifugao.
Relatives and neighbors near and far have been informed of the celebration and will stand witness in the cultural transition of a child into boyhood. They come with the eagerness for a festivity bringing along with them jars of rice wine, rice, vegetables and additional animals to feed the mass of well-wishers.
“The gods are entreated to shower their favors upon the boy celebrant and make him manly and brave upon reaching manhood”, wrote Manuel B. Dulawan in his book “Oral Literature of the Ifugao.”
Dulawan explains “two interesting features of the kolot are the spearing of the betel palm or banana trunks by the men and the eating by the celebrant of the leg of a sacrificial rooster”. These must be done simultaneously following the nightlong ritual orchestrated by the native priest.
“Aside from the fact that his family has gained some degree of social prestige, the boy will have a marked social degree of recognition among his peers in his later life because he is nungkolot...” Dulawan concluded.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 28, 2011.