The beard has been the ultimate symbol of manliness since time out of mind. Close trimmed, full, or properly manicured, even wild and bushy and out of control, the beard stands supreme in the world of masculinity. In fact, in many cultures, the beard has often been a representation for many masculine virtues, including wisdom, strength, high social status and even sexual prowess, especially in warrior cultures.
While there have been places and times when wearing a beard has not necessarily been in style, or even possible to grow (for some!), many people and cultures carry a great deal of admiration and respect for someone who chooses to sport a fine beard. World Beard Day celebrates the beard and all it has been, become, and will be in days to come.
History of World Beard Day
Every year, on the first Saturday of September, people gather in cities and towns all over the world to revel in the glory of men’s beards, with various ways of celebrating all over the planet.
Since it is believed that people probably didn’t start shaving until about 4000 BC, in the beginning of history, almost all men would have had a beard. It was extremely functional for keeping warm, as well as for cushioning a blow if caught in a tussle.
The origins of World Beard Day have been lost to history, but some historians believe that there is evidence showing that the Danish Vikings have held a day in honor of their beards going back as far as 800 AD! Back in those august days, there was not necessarily a specific day held to honor the beard, but multiple celebrations may have been held throughout each region. Some of the celebrations even seem a little crazy when looking back from modern times!
Take Dönskborg, Sweden, for instance, where all those men who do not have a beard are banished from the town to spend a day and night in the nearby forest. In town, their shamefully clean-faced visages are burned in effigy by those sporting amazing beards.
In southern Spain, there has been a tradition of having a bearded man and a beardless boy engage in a boxing match. That is, if it can be called a boxing match when the man is armed with a sharp pike!
Regardless of where people are located, shaving on World Beard Day is considered to be one of the worst acts of disrespect possible. In fact, in some places on World Beard Day, it is customary for those men who have beards to be honored and waited on hand and foot, by those who do not have beards.
For those with beards or without, it’s time for men, women and children of all ages and stations to celebrate World Beard Day!
How to Celebrate World Beard Day
How World Beard Day is celebrated varies from area to area, as mentioned above, but all of them share one thing in common. No matter what else is happening, the beard is held in high esteem.
Consider these ideas for enjoying World Beard Day:
Organize a World Beard Day Celebration
Get the folks in your community together for an event that honors all things related to beards. Keep it small with just a party in the backyard, or go crazy by inviting the entire town.
This could include all sorts of events, such as a parade of bearded people, a beard grooming demonstration or selling beard related products. Be sure to include that manliest of outdoor cooking methods, the BBQ. Beverages are always loved, and after everyone has feasted don’t forget to hold a competition to see who has the most magnificent beard!
Learn About Historical Figures with Epic Beards
Whether real or fictional, these figures throughout history were famous (or perhaps infamous) and their ability to wear a beard added to the whole effect:
- Blackbeard. Why not start with the guy who is named for his beard? The most feared pirate of the 18th century,
- Abraham Lincoln. The man who was responsible for leading the fight in the American Civil War sported a well-trimmed beard and, sometimes, a stovepipe hat. In fact, Lincoln was just one of only five US Presidents (out of 46) who chose to wear a beard.
- Santa Claus. This beloved character presumably wears his white beard to keep warm in the cold climate of his North Pole home!
- Ambrose Everett Burnside. A soldier and politician from the American state of Rhode Island, Burnside wore a uniquely shaped beard out of which he shaved the center of his chin–giving him a huge, wide mutton chop look. His name, and the way he wore his beard, was the inspiration behind the term “sideburns”.
Break a Bearded World Record
Those bearded folks who feel particularly competitive may consider making beard history by working to break one of these world records:
- All Bearded Human Period. Organized by the folks at World Beard Day, this record was set in 2014 in St. Petersburg, Florida, with 22 delightfully bearded men.
- Longest Beard. Recorded by Guinness, this was set by Hans N. Langseth who was born in Norway in 1846. By the time of his death, Langseth’s beard had grown to an impressive 17 feet, 6 inches.
- Biggest Weight Lifted by a Human Beard. In 2013, Antanas Kontrimas, of Lithuania, used his beard to lift a 140 pound woman!
World Beard Day honors your face ferret and that of everyone around you!