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When did it become popular to have a ceremony for a boys Upsherin, his first haircut when he reaches the age of three?

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I would add "and where and why?" but that's just my curiosity. – WAF Jan 7 '12 at 23:51
Good Catch, I was hoping to get an answer to thise questions as well. – Ken Jan 8 '12 at 0:49
related, if not duplicate: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/8212/… – Menachem Jan 8 '12 at 0:57
@Menachem I think not a duplicate because this is a historical question. – Double AA Jan 8 '12 at 1:20
@Ken are you sure this site needs a tag called "upsherin"? I'm not sure how many questions that really covers. Community: what are your thoughts? – Double AA Jan 8 '12 at 1:21
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The Shaarei Teshuva Orach Chaim 531:7 mentions the Minhag of Upsherin based on the Arizal.

HaRav Chaim Vital in Sefer Shaar HaKavanos mentions this Minhag.

ענין מנהג שנהג ישראל ללכת ביום ל"ג בעומר על קברי רשב"י ור"א בנו אשר קבורים במירון, ואוכלים ושותים ושמחים שם, אני ראיתי למורי ז"ל (האר"י) שהלך לשם פעם אחת ביום ל"ג בעומר וכל אנשי ביתו וישב שם שלשה ימים ראשונים של השבוע, והרב יונתן שאגיש העיד לי שבשנה האחת קודם שהלכתי ללמוד עם מורי ז"ל שהוליך את בנו הקטן עם כל אנשי ביתו ושם גילחו את ראשו כמנהג הידוע,וכתבתי כל זה להורות שיש שורש למנהג הזה הנזכר.

The reason behind this Minhag is mentioned in Kovetz Chodesh Bchodsho. Since Avraham Avinu recognized Hashem when he was three and we follow what the Avos did, therefore at three is when we start the Mitzva of Yarmulke, Tzitzis, and Peyos which all remind us that there is Hashem.

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This provides a justification, but it does not provide an origin (unless it is meant to imply that the tradition goes back to Avraham's time). – Seth J Jan 8 '12 at 0:22
Growing up as a jewish day school during the 60's & 70's I obviously always wore a yalmulka and Tzitzis. I remember seeing other boys with Peyos, but it is only recently that I can recall boys having a "Upsherin" ceremony. – Ken Jan 8 '12 at 0:47

This is a Breslav minhag.
I imagine it become "popular" around the time that other Breslavian minhagim became "popular", i.e. mid-previous century (though it's likely I'm off on the timeline).

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My impression (though it's only an impression) is it's a custom of chasidim well beyond Breslov. – msh210 Jan 8 '12 at 16:47
@msh210 That is possible, though in truth it seems to me that a lot of those lines have been blurred - e.g. Uman has become the trip du jour far beyond the boundaries of Breslavim - as such it might be hard to tell where it comes from, so yeah I might be wrong on the true origin. Either way, it's become "popular" as a result of the same fashion of adopting Breslov and Chassidish minhagim.... – AviD Jan 9 '12 at 1:27
The Minhag of the Upsherin is well beyond a Breslov custom. The Minhag has it sources in kabalah and therefore most Chasidim keep this Minhag. The lubavicher Rebbe in all his letters of blessings to parents regarding their child's upsherin, used to particularly enumerate the importance of this day and this Minhag. – user4978 Feb 20 '14 at 7:28
@haircut yes, comments to that effect have been made, and I agreed that it has long been a Chassidish minhag - but that is not exactly "well beyond Breslov" (which sounds like it was always a mainstream minhag, which is only recently). – AviD Feb 21 '14 at 8:41

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