Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Why Tamil Barbers Don't Work on Tuesdays?

Picture Credit Malaysia Daily

The Tamil barbers are called Ambattar, Navidar or even Pariyari. They are also called Maruthuvar which carries the same meaning as "doctor" or "medical practitioner". 

This is because the Tamil barbers also served as surgeons during ancient times. Some are still involved with native medicinal practices especially massages. If you have a bad sprain or a stiff neck, the Tamil barber is probably the best person who can fix it for you.

In the past, the Tamil barbers will not work on Tuesdays. Their shops will be closed. But nowadays they no longer do this. The shops will be opened every day.

Why was there a tradition of not working on Tuesdays?

Tuesday is the day of Mars (Chevvai). As per Hindu tradition (also Greeks & Romans) Mars is associated with fights, quarrels, wars and anything aggressive. This is why the God of War, Muruga and his mother Durga are worshipped on this day. 

It is believed that anything associated with Mars is suitable for violent purpose. This also includes injuries whether wanted or unwanted. So as per Hindu astrological belief, it is best to avoid sharp weapons or objects on Tuesdays as it can cause injuries. 

So the Tamil barbers of the past don't use their scissors and shaving blades on Tuesdays and it became their off day.

- Comments


  1. Even today in our areas barbers won't open their shops, the past generation saw their shops closed on New moon day also. They are the doctors till the arrival of Alobathy medicines. Even today barbers used to stand by the side of the dead person ( Corps } when they were bathed. It's an old tradition .since they are the doctors , during bathing time they will have a close look at the dead, and will confirm whether the person met a natural death or murder, or suicide and the cause of death, this will be reported to the king of that area. Very skilled pupil in traditional medicines. Thanks for the posting sir.

  2. Tuesdays as you rightly said are considered inauspicious. So the day of amangal is called mangalvar and in Telugu the barbar is called mangalavadu. incidentally the ayurvedic vaidyans were of a higher caste from Brahmins down. For instance thee were Brahmins with the surname Vaidyas in Maharashtra and Baidyas are upper caste in Bengal.But surgery was generally left to the barbers. It might be more useful if you check on the appropriate words and practices in other languages