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Similar to the concept of ‘Movember’, Manuary is a time for men to show their stuff by growing out their facial hair – and it’s all for a purpose and for a good cause! 

History of Manuary

Men have been growing beards all throughout the ages. Charles Darwin had a theory that beards were somehow related to the survival of the fittest, putting forth the theory that men who had beards were more attractive to women, which meant they were the men who would procreate more. Of course, since Darwin himself was known for his full beard, perhaps this was just his way of making it clear to everyone around that the ladies loved him!

Manuary is a portmanteau (a word that is made up to combine the sounds and meanings of other words) that seems to trace its history back to 2010 when it was started by some of the students at Brentwood school in British Columbia, Canada.

A boarding school for high school boys, Brentwood students wanted to participate in Movember, even though it violated their strict dress code of no facial hair. While the school declined their request to participate in Movember, the students petitioned to establish a new holiday month with a similar theme, naming it Manuary.

Since that time, Manuary has been celebrated annually at the school and has also gained some traction in other places as well. Offering the opportunity for growing facial hair while raising monetary donations for a worthy cause, Manuary has often been associated with the fight against head and neck cancer. A few different charities work to support those with cancer as well as diligently seeking to find a cure, specifically for those with cancers of the head and neck.

With that in mind, it’s time to get ready to grow a beard, mustache or goatee in honor of Manuary, or at least (for those who aren’t bead-growers) use the time to raise awareness about and donations for the fight against cancers of the head and neck.

Manuary Timeline

1861

Abe Lincoln rocks a chinstrap

In previous decades, facial hair was considered radical in the US, but becomes a symbol of masculinity around Civil War times.[1]

1871

Darwin theorizes about beards

In his book, The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin philosophizes that beards are an evolutionary trait that have the power to attract women.[2]

1950s

Goatees become popular

While most men are clean shaven during this time, artists, musicians and other creatives begin expressing themselves through facial hair.

2003

Inaugural Movember

The first Movember, a cousin of Manuary, is started in Australia and becomes a global movement – and the inspiration behind Manuary.[3]

2010

First Manuary is celebrated

In an effort to raise awareness, and perhaps show some beardly feats of manliness, the first Manuary is celebrated.

How to Celebrate Manuary

Not everyone has to grow facial hair just to celebrate! People can get involved with the month of Manuary in a variety of ways that support the cause and also are just a little bit of fun. Try out some of these ideas for paying heed to Manuary:

Grow Out That Beard!

Men who are willing and able to grow a beard should consider Manuary just the right time to do so. It’s usually fairly cold outside and January just seems like a month to hunker down and hibernate anyway. So why bother shaving?! Save money on razors and support a good cause at the same time.

Hold a Beard Growing Contest

Whether it’s just a group of friends who put a wager on their ability to grow a beard (with proceeds going to charity, of course) or it’s a work related activity that comes with a trophy, consider a beard growing contest this Manuary. College students might want to pit their frat houses against each other to see who can man up and grow the best beard.

A beard contest is pretty easy. Just make sure that everyone who is participating shaves clean on January 1 and then see who has the best facial hair by the end of the month. Depending on the number of participants, perhaps consider giving special prizes for certain styles such as mustaches, sideburns, goatees and more. No matter who wins, it’s all in good fun and for a good cause!

Watch Movies Featuring Epic Beards 

January is often a long, dark month, so infuse it with some entertainment that is Manuary based by watching some shows that feature men with glorious facial hair! Even if the movie isn’t perfect, sometimes forgiveness can go a long way when a perfect beard is featured. Check out some of these films to get started:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean (2003). There’s really no competing with Jack Sparrow’s flair for the unique when it comes to his hair, whether it’s the locks on his head or his double braided, beaded beard. 
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979). Well this one is for the ladies who feel left out. One particular scene includes a group of “women” who are wearing fake beards so they can attend a stoning. 
  • Star Wars (1977). Perhaps the manliest of all men is not a man at all. Perhaps he’s a Wookiee. That’s right, Chewbacca, in this first of the Star Wars franchise films, is the epitome of not just facial hair but hair all over his body. 
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012). This movie series has plenty of bearded wizards to enjoy, but one of the best might have to be Radagast. He has birds living in his hair and, therefore, bird poop that drips down into his huge beard! 

Raise Awareness About Cancer

One of the most important things about Manuary is getting the word out about certain types of cancer. Most people think that it will happen to other people, but early detection is vitally important in the fight against cancer.

That’s why Manuary is a great time to remind a man in your life to make an appointment for a physical checkup with a doctor, as well as asking for cancer screenings. Men of a certain age or with higher risk factors for certain cancers should be especially careful to take care of themselves in this way.

Make a Donation to Charity

One of the most important factors about Manuary is remembering that it is ‘manly’ to help other people. Especially those who are fighting for their lives against cancer. Those who want to make a donation in honor of Manuary might want to choose one of these charities:

  • HNC Living Foundation. Helping patients who have head and neck cancer, this organization helps with medical challenges as well as financial challenges. 
  • Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA). This charity not only helps patients, but also seeks to educate and provide preventative care as well as early detection. 
  • Thyroid Head and Neck Cancer Foundation (THNC). Providing resources as well as research, this foundation is made up of doctors and researchers who want to put an end to cancer.

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