'Ilgaplaukės', that in Lithuanian means 'long haired' is the title of long hair contests that are anually held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The contests are organized by modelling agency Modeliai.lt and has been evolved from the Lithuanian premiere of Disney's animated movie 'Tangled' four years ago. It takes place, like many fashion shows, in a large shopping mall. Girls and women of all ages are invited to participate in this contest to measure their hair and to be rewarded with certificates and prizes.
This time, the minimum age for participants was decreased to zero, which meant that some parents showed up on stage to get the virgin hair of their babies measured. It was cute and funny how these children stared at the audience while they were probably thinking: 'what are you looking at?' I don't think that they had any clue what was going on.
Even though Lithuania belongs to the few remaining "long hair countries", it was apparently a hard job to find women with a considerable hair length to take part in this show.
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Probably many women think that it is a children contest, for the avarage age was like 10 years old. But of course, and luckily for this show there are exceptions. Like the 27 year old Julijos Aleksejevos, who won this contest with her calf length hair measuring 139cm!
In our never ending search of an answer why women grow their hair to impractical but astonishing lengths we asked the organizer of this contest, mrs. Severa Čepulienė, director of Modeliai.lt. She says that, apart from culture and traditions, it's a natural desire of the participants to be acceptional. It is their own wish to create a distinctive and individual way of hair styling, without being influenced by western pop stars and TV personalities.
In addition to this, mrs. Čepulienė explaines that Baltic traditions encourage long, loose hair to unmarried women because it signifies youth and independence, and therefore forbids married women to have long hair or show long hair in public. That could also explain why I sometimes see a mother wearing a bob cut and brushing her daughter's hair that goes down to her knees.
The urge of modern Lithuanian girls to present themselves in their exceptional styles while they remain loyal to their national traditions, means that numerous girls and women throughout the country grow or at least try to grow their hair to floor length or even beyond. In public, these people are not recognized as exceptional and are treated as normal citizens, because they keep their tremendous locks hidden in buns or in braids, so the beauty of it can only be seen and admired on stage. Contests like these are therefore of great importance to everyone who enjoys the sight of long hair but also for everyone involved in the fashion and hair industry.
Total hair length of the 58 participants was an incredible 47,88m and the avarage length was 88,55cm! More information about winners can be found here.