For this edition of our Beauty Passport series I would like to go around the globe and take a closer look at age old traditions that are beautiful to some, strange or even ugly to others, but speak the same truth over all: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Since beauty comes in a million different forms one must explore beauty with a completely open mind. Tribal beauty traditions have deep roots from centuries past, and many traditions are still practiced today. Here are four:
On the border of Burma and Thailand lives the Kayan Tribe. Beauty, in this tribe, is measured by how many weighted brass rings are worn around a woman’s neck. This tradition starts with girls as young as 5. Over time more rings are placed around the neck, one on top of another. The weight can reach up to 22 pounds.
In Indonesia, a woman’s beauty is defined by her teeth. Women have their teeth chiseled into fine, sharp points to be considered more attractive. This tradition is performed without anesthetics and the tools used are almost primal, so the term beauty is pain really resonates with this tradition.
Both Polynesian and Aboriginal women tattoo their lips and chin with tribal art, or paint their faces and entire bodies with colored clays to express not only their own personalities but also to attract the eye of eligible men in their tribes.
In Japan, it has been a very long-standing tradition to use the droppings from nightingales as a face wash. The droppings are dried, and pressed into a fine powder, then mixed with soap. The belief is that this facial treatment gives youthful glowing skin.
I hope taking a look at these different beauty traditions from around the world helps you see that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. My thought is this: open your mind and perceive yourself in as many different lights as you can. What may seem to be a flaw to you, may be your most beautiful, distinguishing characteristic in the eyes of another.