While I was in Morocco, I kept my hair under a scarf. I did this as a show of respect for the cultural norms that were practiced in that country at that time. I did not feel as though I had to, and I’m sure there was the off chance that it slid off occasionally. I don’t necessarily believe in the practice or the history behind the implications. But I tried my best to abide by the custom.
Across many religions we find a covering of the hair to symbolize many a thing, whether it be a show of modesty and privacy, submission to a holy deity, or to ward off evil spirits. Just because I don’t necessarily share these beliefs does not mean I can’t show my understanding of them.
When I was married to my “Buddhist” Sri Lankan husband, I often times would dress in a traditional Sari his mother would custom fit on my body. It was fun for me to engage with a culture in this manner. It was enriching to me to be introduced to a different way of seeing or perceiving things.
Would I do it every day? Would I adopt this as a lifestyle to appease someone else? Most likely not, but I will continue to challenge myself to experience other cultures in this way. It is the same reason why I always try to learn at least a few phrases in a local dialect when I go to visit. It shows respect.
That someone else’s life, culture and values exist because I acknowledge them to exist. I am not dismissing them and insisting on keeping my own or impressing on someone else that mine are the only finite things that matter.
We are all one after all, and if I show respect to someone else, I am showing respect to myself and I might just get respect back.