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A beard is the hair that grows on the chin, upper lip, lower lip, cheeks, and neck of humans and some non-human animals. In humans, usually only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards. Some women with hirsutism, a hormonal condition of excessive hairiness, may develop a beard.

Throughout the course of history, societal attitudes toward male beards have varied widely depending on factors such as prevailing cultural-religious traditions and the current era's fashion trends. Some religions (such as Islam, Traditional Christianity,[vague] Orthodox Judaism[citation needed] and Sikhism) have considered a full beard to be absolutely essential for all males able to grow one and mandate it as part of their official dogma. Other cultures, even while not officially mandating it, view a beard as central to a man's virility, exemplifying such virtues as wisdom, strength, sexual prowess and high social status. In cultures where facial hair is uncommon (or currently out of fashion), beards may be associated with poor hygiene or an uncivilized, dangerous demeanor. In countries with colder climates, beards help protect the wearer's face from the elements.

Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, commanded the Sikhs to maintain unshorn hair, recognizing it as a necessary adornment of the body by Almighty God as well as a mandatory Article of Faith. Sikhs consider the beard to be part of the nobility and dignity of their manhood. Sikhs also refrain from cutting their hair and beards out of respect for the God-given form. Kesh, uncut hair, is on

Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, commanded the Sikhs to maintain unshorn hair, recognizing it as a necessary adornment of the body by Almighty God as well as a mandatory Article of Faith. Sikhs consider the beard to be part of the nobility and dignity of their manhood. Sikhs also refrain from cutting their hair and beards out of respect for the God-given form. Kesh, uncut hair, is one of the Five Ks, five compulsory articles of faith for a baptized Sikh. As such, a Sikh man is easily identified by his turban and uncut hair and beard.

Male Rastafarians wear beards in conformity with injunctions given in the Bible, such as Leviticus 21:5, which reads "They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh." The beard is a symbol of the covenant between God (Jah or Jehovah in Rastafari usage) and his people.

The "Philosopher's beard"