New barber shops have sprung up near the “Jamarat” walls in Mina, where pilgrims shave off or trim their hairs after throwing pebbles at walls symbolizing Satan.
Most barber shops are owned and run by young Saudis who have been trained in shaving. The prices range between 30 Saudi Riyals ($8) for the complete shaving off of the hair and 15 Saudi Riyals ($4) for shortening it.
The young Saudi barbers expressed happiness to be serving the pilgrims, enabling them to complete their hajj rites of which shaving is an integral part.
The barbers use sterilized razor blades and plastic towels which are used only once before they are disposed of. The pilgrims queue for the shaving operation in a highly organized style. Each shop has a number of chairs and each chair will be hosting hundreds of the pilgrims.
There are about 1,100 licensed barber shops in Makkah, in addition to the seasonal shops in Mina.
The Makkah municipality undertakes regular inspection campaigns on all these shops to ensure that they are both legal and hygienic.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Oct. 16, 2013.