New York's Coney Island has long been known for its freaky folks. This month it held its third annual Beard and Moustache Competition. Two traditional categories there are Best Natural Female Beard/Moustache. As the event organizer said: "I have run into a few ladies that are letting it all grow out just for the event. Historically, bearded women were always in demand by freak shows and traveling circuses".
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This contest is fueled by the following news: Elmar Weisser, 47-year-old hairdresser from Germany won the World Beard and Moustache Championship, held in Trondheim, Norway, reports the BBC. A gorgeous hair sculpture (cannot be defined otherwise), depicting an elk in boundless tundra, created on the face of the creative German, won over 160 contestants.
According to his own words, Wir Elmar Weisser prepared his beard for the competition from 7 o'clock in the morning with the help of his sister. This was not his first achievement in the "World Beard and Moustache" championship. In 2005, he won here with a beard, cut and trimmed in the shape of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. Two years later, he once again won with a beard, depicting an identical copy of the London tower.
"When my beard is not set, it reaches down to my waist" - boasted an untiring Elmar in an interview to a correspondent from the AFP agency.
The World Beard and Moustache Championships have been held since 1995. Organizers call it the "world's main event in the beard and moustache category". Surprisingly, serious passions boil, at times compared to football game, in this competition, which looks like a curious one at first glance. Thus Americans, who, for long period considered themselves inferior to Europeans, showed invincible national character and are able to significantly improve their performances in recent years. Commentators say that the USA is becoming a "great beard and moustache powerhouse".
Today, anyone hardly doubts that hair style (or beard style) can have symbolic significance. Beards not only grace a man. It can became an important political trump-card.
It is Incredible, but the beard played its role in the achievements of conquistadors, who conquered the New World. American Indians considered Columbus and also other Europeans as messengers of God.
Invaders successfully followed the notions of the American Indians of the legendary "divine messengers" - white, bearded, dressed in black clothes on huge ships. While American Indians worshipped, the "deities" conquered their territories.
Cuba was conquered by Velázquez de Cuéllar Diego, who was a Spanish. He was born in a very rich family in Cueller, Spain. He participated in the second expedition of Columbus in 1493 and commanded the troops from Haiti, which captured Cuba in 1511.
Here, he founded many cities, among which was Havana in 1515. He died in Cuba from fever.
Local American Indians from the Ciboney and Taino tribes were killed by arms and diseases, which were brought by Europeans. Slaves were brought from Africa to the island in order to compensate the shortage of the workforce, who later on contributed to a major part of Havana’s population.
The mixture of Spanish and Africans gave birth to present day Cubans.
Why did the Greeks sport beards while the Romans did not?
For a long time, the habit of sporting a beard was common in Ancient Greece as well as in Rome - not even one respected Greek on Roman could appear clean shaved before others. An anecdote still exists about the philosopher Diogenes, who rudely ridiculed a beardless man, asking him: "aren't you taking the nature to court as it created you to be a man and not a woman?".
This trend was stopped by Alexander the Great. He was the first famous clean shaven Greek king. His trend was followed so that almost after 500 years of his governance, in the civilized world, the beard was perhaps sported only by philosophers and not by everybody.
Truly, there exists a more practical explanation to this fact, as the beard did not grow at all due to a physiological feature of Alexander the Great. Though, maybe this phenomenon was just a pure utilitarian explanation. It is known that before the deciding battle with Persians in Gaugamela, Alexander ordered his soldiers to shave their beards so that the cunning barbarians could not grab them by the beard when they were engaged in close fighting. One way or another, all famous personalities of the ancient period did not sport a beard. The exception is Adrian, the Roman emperor, who brought back the beard trend during the barbarization of the Roman empire.