Unlocking the Meaning: What Does a Lock of Hair Symbolize?

Have you ever wondered why people keep locks of hair? Is it a sentimental keepsake or something more meaningful? As it turns out, locks of hair have been a symbol of love, remembrance, and even mourning throughout history. But what does a lock of hair truly represent and why do we hold onto them?

In the past, it was common to give a lock of hair as a token of affection to a loved one. It was considered a symbol of fidelity and commitment, as the giver was essentially giving a piece of themselves. Locks of hair were also kept as a remembrance of someone special who was far away, serving as a connection to a loved one unable to be present.

However, the meaning of a lock of hair evolved over time and took on a new significance during times of mourning. A lock of hair from a deceased loved one became a tangible way to remember and honor them. The hair not only served as a physical remembrance, but also symbolized the continuation of the loved one’s spirit and legacy. Whether it’s from a living or deceased loved one, a lock of hair holds a special significance and is treasured as a symbol of love and remembrance.

Historical Significance of Locks of Hair

Locks of hair have been worn, collected or gifted for centuries. With the changes in beliefs, traditions and social customs, the meaning of locks of hair has also evolved over time.

In ancient times, hair was seen as an extension of oneself and worn long as a symbol of strength, virility and power. The longer the hair, the more respected the person was within the tribe or community. In ancient Egypt, hair was seen as a symbol of fertility and youthful beauty. Both men and women often wore wigs made of human hair that were styled according to the latest fashion and trends.

During the Victorian era, there was a trend of gifting locks of hair as a token of affection, friendship or remembrance. Often, couples exchanged locks of hair as a symbol of their love and fidelity. Hair was also used to remember a loved one who had passed on. For example, during the American Civil War, soldiers would send locks of hair home to their loved ones as a way of keeping their memory alive.

  • Locks of hair were often kept in lockets or medallions and worn close to the heart.
  • Queen Victoria was known for exchanging locks of hair with loved ones and even commissioned a necklace made of the hair of her children and husband.
  • In the 19th century, hair jewelry became a popular accessory, with hair being woven into elaborate patterns and designs.

During the 20th century, the significance of locks of hair shifted towards scientific and medical research. Hair contains DNA, which can be used to identify individuals and their genetic predispositions to certain diseases or conditions. Hair samples are still used today in forensics and paternity testing.

Time Period Significance of Locks of Hair
Ancient Times Symbol of strength, virility, power, and beauty
Victorian Era Gift of love, remembrance, and mourning
20th Century Scientific and medical research

No matter what the time period, the significance of locks of hair has always been linked to personal relationships and connections. Whether worn as a symbol of love, remembrance or studied for scientific purposes, a lock of hair represents an extension of oneself that created a meaningful connection between individuals.

Locks of hair in religious and cultural practices

Throughout history, locks of hair have held significant symbolism in various religious and cultural practices. Here, we will examine how different cultures have used strands of hair in spiritual and practical ways.

The significance of hair in Native American cultures

  • Many Native American tribes see hair as a source of power and strength, so cutting it could be perceived as a loss of these qualities.
  • Some tribes use hair in their mourning rituals as a way to honor the deceased. Loved ones may cut a lock of hair from the deceased and keep it as a sentimental object.
  • Hair also plays a role in religious ceremonies. For example, some Navajo ceremonies may use a person’s hair as a way to cleanse the individual spiritually.

Hair in Hinduism

Hinduism, one of the oldest religions in the world, places significant importance on the idea of purity. In Hindu tradition, hair is considered to be one of the most impure parts of the body. As a result, many Hindus engage in the practice of tonsuring—shaving the head as a way to remove impurities.

On the other hand, some Hindus view hair as a way to honor the gods. Many temples receive offerings of hair as a demonstration of devotion. The offering may be a simple lock of hair or could involve a complete shaving of the head.

The power of hair in African cultures

In many African cultures, hair is viewed as a connection to one’s ancestral line. As a result, many people chose to keep their hair uncut as a way to honor their ancestors and maintain ties to their heritage.

Country Cultural group Tradition
Ghana Ashanti Dreadlock-like hairstyles, called Nubian knots, that symbolize strength and unity
South Africa Zulu Styles that incorporate intricate braiding and beading as a way to communicate messages about a person’s age, marital status, and social status
Nigeria Yoruba Styles that feature intricate weaving techniques used to celebrate significant life events like weddings or births

Symbolism of hair color in locks of hair

Locks of hair have been used throughout history as symbols of different emotions, beliefs, and preferences. In many cultures, the color of hair in a lock is also deeply symbolic. Here are some of the meanings associated with hair colors in locks.

  • Blonde: Often associated with youth, innocence, and purity. Blonde hair in a lock can also symbolize a carefree spirit, lightness, and happiness.
  • Brown: A lock of brown hair can symbolize stability, dependability, and groundedness. Brown hair is also sometimes seen as a symbol of warmth, friendliness, and approachability.
  • Black: Black hair in a lock can be associated with mystery, power, and elegance. It can also symbolize hidden emotions or secrets and is often used in magical or mystical contexts.
  • Red: A lock of red hair is often seen as a symbol of passion, intensity, and energy. It can also represent rebellion, creativity, and individuality.
  • Grey/White: Grey or white hair in a lock can be symbolic of wisdom, knowledge, and experience. It is often associated with aging, but can also represent a sense of peace, acceptance, and calmness.
  • Mixed: Locks of hair with multiple colors can represent complexity, diversity, and a blending of different personalities or elements.


The symbolism of hair color in locks is fascinating and varied. From innocence and purity to mystery and power, each color can hold multiple meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Whether you are creating art or simply admiring a beautiful lock of hair, understanding the meanings behind different hair colors can add an extra layer of depth and appreciation to your experience.

Locks of hair in mourning practices

In many cultures, hair has been a symbol of mourning and remembrance for centuries. When a loved one passes away, many people choose to keep a lock of hair as a physical reminder of the person they’ve lost. But what exactly does a lock of hair symbolize in mourning practices? In this article, we’ll explore the different meanings behind locks of hair in mournful settings.

  • A connection to the deceased: One of the main reasons people keep a lock of hair is to feel a continued connection to the person they’ve lost. Hair is unique to each individual and represents a physical part of them that lives on after death.
  • A symbol of grief: Locks of hair have been used as a symbol of mourning for centuries. In Victorian times, it was common for family members to make jewelry or decorations out of a loved one’s hair as a way of honoring the deceased. The hair was often encased in glass and worn as a pendant or brooch.
  • A way to remember: When people pass away, memories begin to fade over time. Keeping a lock of their hair helps to preserve those memories and keeps the person’s memory alive.

It’s important to note that locks of hair aren’t just for mourning the loss of a loved one. They can also be used to signify important life moments such as a baby’s first haircut or a milestone birthday. In these instances, locks of hair represent growth and change.

While locks of hair may seem like a simple physical object, they hold a significant emotional weight for those who hold them. They serve as a tangible reminder of the person we’ve lost and the memories we’ve shared with them.

The symbolism of the number 4 in hair locks

In some cultures, the number 4 plays a significant role in the symbolism of locks of hair. In Chinese culture, it’s believed that the number 4 represents death and bad luck. As a result, giving or receiving a lock of hair in a group of four is seen as unlucky.

Number of Locks Meaning
1 A connection to the deceased
2 A symbol of partnership
3 Represents the past, present, and future
4 Signifies death and bad luck

It’s important to keep cultural traditions and beliefs in mind when giving or receiving locks of hair in a mournful setting. It’s always best to check with the family or individual first to ensure that the gift is respectful and appropriate.

Locks of Hair in Art and Literature

Locks of hair have been used for centuries as a symbol of various emotions, beliefs, and customs. They have made their way into the artwork and literature of various cultures across the world. Below are some examples of how locks of hair have been portrayed in art and literature:

  • The Symbol of Love: In literature, locks of hair often symbolize love and devotion. For instance, in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130, the persona uses hair as a metaphor for his lover’s beauty: “If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head…” Similarly, in the Bible, the story of Samson and Delilah is centered on the theme of hair as a symbol of love and betrayal.
  • Memento Mori: During the Victorian era, locks of hair were sometimes given as tokens of remembrance or mourning. It was believed that keeping a lock of hair from a deceased loved one would help preserve their memory and keep them close to the heart. This practice was reflected in Victorian art, including portraits that incorporated locks of hair into their design.
  • The Mark of Identity: In some cultures, locks of hair were used as a way to identify a person. In ancient Egypt, for example, mummies were often buried with locks of hair that were used to identify them in the afterlife. In some Native American tribes, a lock of hair was given to a child at birth to establish their identity and connection to their family and tribe.

Aside from their symbolic meaning, locks of hair have also been used as an artistic medium. Famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Gustav Klimt have incorporated locks of hair into their paintings as a way to add texture and meaning to their artwork. In contemporary art, locks of hair have been used in unique ways, such as in Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s sculptures.

Artwork Description
Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889) shows the artist after he cut off a portion of his ear. The bandage on his ear is wrapped around a lock of his own hair, creating a haunting and poignant self-portrait.
Gustav Klimt's The Kiss Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (1908) features a golden-haired woman whose hair is intricately woven into the design of the painting. The woman’s hair becomes a metaphor for love and passion, as well as a decorative element in the artwork.

In conclusion, locks of hair hold a significant place in art and literature across various cultures and time periods. They have been used to symbolize love, mourning, identity, and artistic expression. As such, they remain a fascinating and meaningful aspect of both art and human culture.

The Science Behind Hair and its Symbolism

Throughout history, hair has been regarded as a significant symbolic element that conveys different messages and meanings. In different cultures, hair is a symbol of beauty, power, strength, and even religious affiliation. On the other hand, hair loss can be a sign of illness, anxiety, and stress. In this article, we will explore the science behind hair and its symbolism with a focus on the following subtopics:

The Symbolism of Hair Length

  • Long Hair: In many cultures, long hair is regarded as a symbol of beauty, youth, and vitality. In ancient cultures, long hair was an emblem of status and wealth, and only men of high ranking could wear it. For women, long hair was also associated with fertility and motherhood.
  • Short Hair: Short hair symbolizes independence, new beginnings, and a bold change. It can be a sign of self-expression and individuality, and can also represent a break from conformity.
  • Baldness: While baldness is often associated with aging and illness, it can also represent wisdom and inner beauty. In many cultures, monks shave their heads as a sign of devotion and spiritual discipline.

The Symbolism of Hair Color

Hair color is another important element that conveys different meanings and messages. Here’s a brief overview of the symbolism of hair color:

  • Blonde Hair: Blonde hair is often associated with youth, innocence, and purity. In Western cultures, blonde hair is highly valued and coveted, and often seen as a symbol of beauty.
  • Brunette Hair: Brunette hair is associated with intelligence, maturity, and stability. It is often considered more serious and sophisticated than blonde hair.
  • Red Hair: Red hair is a rare and distinctive feature, often considered to be bold and daring. In many cultures, red hair is considered a sign of good luck and prosperity.
  • Black Hair: Black hair is often associated with power, elegance, and mystery. It is considered a symbol of sophistication and refinement.

The Science of Hair Growth

Hair growth is a complex biological process that involves various factors, including genetics, nutrition, and hormonal balance. Hair grows in three phases:

  • Anagen: This is the growth phase that lasts 2-6 years. During this phase, the hair follicles produce new hair cells, which push the old hair out of the scalp.
  • Catagen: This is a transitional phase that lasts 1-2 weeks. During this phase, hair growth slows down, and the hair follicles begin to shrink.
  • Telogen: This is a resting phase that lasts 3-4 months. During this phase, the old hair falls out, and the new hair begins to grow.

The Symbolism of Hair in Dreams

Hair is a common symbol in dreams, often representing personal power, identity, and self-image. Here are some common interpretations of hair in dreams:

Dream Symbol Interpretation
Hair Falling Out Anxiety, fear of aging or loss of power.
Hair Being Cut A change in self-image or breaking free from the past.
Hair Growing Rapidly Great creative potential and personal power.

Overall, hair is a complex and meaningful symbolic element that reflects our innermost thoughts, feelings, and aspirations. Whether it’s a new haircut, a change in hair color, or a bald spot, our hair speaks volumes about who we are and how we see ourselves.

Cultural differences in the symbolism of locks of hair

Locks of hair have been used as powerful symbols throughout history, often representing love, friendship, remembrance, and even protection from harm. The symbolism of locks of hair varies widely across cultures and can hold different meanings depending on the context in which they are used.

The number 7

In many cultures, the number 7 is considered lucky, and this belief extends to the symbolism of locks of hair. Some cultures believe that collecting and keeping seven locks of hair can bring good luck and prosperity to the person holding them. In other cultures, seven locks of hair can represent the seven days of the week or the seven stages of life.

  • In some Native American tribes, seven locks of hair are often tied together with a string or ribbon and given to a bride on her wedding day. The locks of hair represent the seven generations of ancestors who have come before her, and their collective wisdom and strength.
  • In ancient Chinese culture, seven locks of hair were often tied together and worn as a talisman to ward off evil spirits and protect against illness and disease. It was believed that the seven locks of hair represented the seven bodily orifices through which evil spirits could enter the body.
  • In Hinduism, it is customary to offer seven locks of hair to the gods as a symbol of devotion. These locks of hair are often shaved off as an act of penance and purification, and the number seven represents the seven chakras or energy centers in the body.
Culture Symbolism of 7 locks of hair
Native American Represents the seven generations of ancestors and their collective wisdom and strength
Chinese Worn as a talisman to protect against evil spirits and illness, represents the seven bodily orifices
Hindu Offered as a symbol of devotion and purification, represents the seven chakras in the body

The number 7 is a powerful symbol in many cultures, and the use of seven locks of hair can carry great significance in the right context. Whether it represents ancestral wisdom, protection from harm, or spiritual purification, the symbolism of locks of hair is a fascinating aspect of cultural tradition and belief.

Locks of hair as a keepsake or sentimental object

For centuries, locks of hair have been collected and kept as treasured objects that hold a great deal of sentimental value. Here are some of the reasons why people keep locks of hair as keepsakes:

  • Memory keeping: One of the primary reasons people collect locks of hair is to remember a loved one who has passed away. These locks serve as a tangible reminder of the person and the memories they shared together.
  • Token of affection: Locks of hair can also serve as a token of affection between couples, parents, and children, or close friends. It can be seen as a physical representation of their love and devotion.
  • Historical significance: In some cases, locks of hair can have historical significance. For example, locks of hair from important or famous people have been kept as souvenirs or as evidence of their existence.

Locks of hair are often kept together with other sentimental objects, such as photographs, letters, and even personal belongings. Together, these items create a powerful representation of the person being remembered or honored.

Locks of hair are also commonly incorporated into jewelry and other decorative items. This allows the owner to wear the hair as a visible representation of their connection to the person being remembered.

Many people use locks of hair in creative and unique ways to keep their memories alive. Some examples include:

Use Description
Lockets A small pendant that opens to reveal a lock of hair inside. This is a classic way to keep a lock of hair close to the heart.
Art Many artists use locks of hair in their work to create visually striking and unique pieces.
Ornaments Locks of hair can be incorporated into ornaments for special occasions like Christmas or birthdays. This is a great way to honor a loved one who has passed away during a special time of the year.

Overall, locks of hair are a powerful symbol of love, loss, and remembrance. They serve as a physical representation of the connection between people and the memories they share.

Traditional lock of hair jewelry and accessories

Locks of hair have been treasured and used for various purposes throughout history and different cultures. One of the most common ways to preserve a lock of hair is by turning it into a piece of jewelry or an accessory. Locks of hair jewelry and accessories were popular during the Victorian era, and remained famous in the following years.

  • Lockets: Lockets were a favored piece of hair jewelry during the Victorian era. They were often made of gold or silver and had a small compartment to hold a lock of hair or other sentimental items. Lockets could be worn on a chain around the neck or attached to a bracelet.
  • Rings: Rings with hair were also popular during the Victorian era, and they were often given as tokens of love or friendship. Hair was placed under a layer of glass or crystal on top of the ring.
  • Brooches: Brooches were another popular type of hair jewelry and were often worn to remember loved ones who had passed away. They were made of gold or silver and had a compartment to hold a lock of hair.

Locks of hair were also used to decorate other accessories such as hat pins, watch chains, and bracelets. With the rise of photography in the late 19th century, hair jewelry fell out of favor, but many antique pieces still exist today as a reminder of a bygone era.

In addition to the above, the number 9 also holds significance in traditional lock of hair jewelry and accessories. It represents the number of strands of hair required to make a complete lock of hair. According to Victorian tradition, a lock of hair containing nine strands was believed to symbolize good luck. Hence, many lockets, rings, and brooches were made to hold nine strands of hair, emphasizing the importance of this number in hair jewelry design.

Number of Hair Strands Symbolic Meaning
1 Single Love
2 Marriage
3 Irish Luck
4 Family Ties
5 Health and Prosperity
6 Six Senses
7 Luck and Magic
8 Infinity and Eternity
9 Good Luck

The tradition of creating jewelry and accessories with locks of hair has been around for centuries and continues to be practiced today. The sentimental value of hair jewelry and accessories not only lies in the beauty of the piece itself but also in the emotional significance and the story behind it.

Contemporary trends in lock of hair preservation and display

Locks of hair have been preserved and displayed for centuries as sentimental tokens, but in recent years, contemporary artists and designers have taken this tradition to new heights of creativity and innovation. Here are some of the latest trends in lock of hair preservation and display:

  • Minimalist designs: Many contemporary hair lock keepsakes come in modern, minimalistic designs that can blend in with any decor. These sleek pieces often feature glass or acrylic frames, allowing the hair to be displayed as a beautiful and ethereal accent piece.
  • Customizable options: Another popular trend is the ability to customize and personalize hair lock keepsakes. Many artists and designers offer their clients the option to choose the size, shape, and color of the frame or container that holds the hair, as well as the option to engrave messages or names onto the piece.
  • Combining hair with other materials: Some contemporary artists incorporate hair into their work as a medium to explore themes of memory, identity, and mortality. For example, hair may be combined with metals, ceramics, and other natural materials to create striking art pieces and sculptures.

But it’s not just artists who are exploring new possibilities for hair locks. There are also a growing number of commercial companies offering modern, innovative ways to preserve and display locks of hair, from beautiful glass vials to eye-catching jewelry pieces that can be worn as pendants or bracelets. These specialized keepsakes allow people to keep a beloved memory close to their hearts in a way that is both stylish and meaningful.

If you’re interested in displaying a lock of hair, whether it’s from a loved one or a cherished pet, there are countless options available to you. You may choose to work with an artist to create a custom design, or you may opt for a more traditional keepsake such as a locket or ring. Whatever your preference, there has never been a better time to explore the beautiful world of hair lock preservation and display.

FAQs about What Does a Lock of Hair Symbolize

1. What does a lock of hair represent in various cultures?

A lock of hair holds different meanings in different cultures. It represents love, dedication, a keepsake, and mourning in Western cultures. In the Islamic culture, it signifies submission to God, while in Hinduism, it represents sacrifice and gratitude.

2. Does the length of the hair matter in the symbolism of a lock of hair?

The length of the hair does not matter in the symbolism of a lock of hair. What is important is the significance of the person who gave it and the intention behind the gesture.

3. Is a lock of hair used for spiritual and religious practices?

Yes, a lock of hair is used in various spiritual and religious practices. It is believed to possess the energy and essence of the person and used for healing, protection, and connecting with the divine.

4. What is the significance of a lock of hair as a romantic gesture?

A lock of hair symbolizes love, devotion, and intimacy. It is seen as a romantic gesture and a keepsake that reminds people of their loved ones.

5. Can a lock of hair be used for magic and occult practices?

Yes, a lock of hair can be used in magic and occult practices. It is believed to possess the energy and essence of the person and used for spells, rituals, and divination.

6. What is the symbolism of a lock of hair in literature and art?

A lock of hair is a common motif in literature and art. It represents beauty, femininity, and eroticism. It can also symbolize mortality and transience in paintings and portraits.

7. Is there any superstition associated with a lock of hair?

Some people believe that keeping a lock of hair may bring good luck or protect them from evil. Others believe that it may cause harm if it falls into the wrong hands or used for malicious purposes.

Closing Thoughts on What Does a Lock of Hair Symbolize?

In conclusion, a lock of hair holds different meanings and symbolism depending on the culture, intention, and context. It can represent love, dedication, memorialization, spirituality, and even magic. Whether you decide to keep a lock of hair or not, it is important to understand the meaning behind the gesture and respect the beliefs and practices of different cultures. Thanks for reading! Please visit us again soon for more insights and articles on symbolism and culture.