Before the Arab and sub-Indian cultural invasion of Somalia, young bachelors were required to grow their hair. It was a symbol of that status. Likewise girls who were marriage-ready had to grow their hair too. Little kids were forbidden to grow longer than certain amount usually neck. Young boys had to shave their heads and some times only keep the front part. You see these styles a lot on the rest of the Cushitics some whom don’t even border each others.
For instance you can find Agews that shave only the center of their heads especially for young girls. I never understood what it meant but in Somali culture back then they did this when someone was ill. They believed the healing would come from the Heavens. So that’s why that open was kept.
Yes Somalis have been Muslims since 6th century but they always kept their ancient culture along Islam until recently. Now days Somali culture has almost all disappeared and most Somalis are not even aware because they think the old is the dark, the jahiliya (ignorance) and backwardness era.
So I share with you pictures from when Somalis were just another Cushitic in the Horn. The Horn has wrong perceptions of Somalis.
The charms they wearing on their arms are Quranic verses called hirsi or qardhas. The beets or jewellery on their necks was cultural but it died. Today, hardcore Islamic views banned a lot of things from Somali society that were the essence of Somalihood called Somalinimo (like Arsooma).
Somalis were largely Sufi but Salafism arrived in the turn of 20th century.