Braided hair is a common occurrence in the Westlands, though in some cultures it holds a special social significance.
In the Two Rivers district of western Andor, women of marriageable age fix their hair into a single braid which often extends down the length of their back. In each village of the region, the local Women's Circle decides when a girl is mature enough to marry and fix her hair accordingly. Girls as young as fourteen have been known to braid their hair though the average age for a girl is around eighteen years. In 998 NE Egwene al'Vere was granted permission by the women's Circle of Emond's Field to braid her hair at the age of seventeen, though she began to wear her hair loose after she left the Two Rivers the same year. Nynaeve al'Meara also left the Two Rivers around the same time but continued to wear her hair in the braided Two Rivers fashion.
Among the Aiel, braided hair is common amid young girls under the age of twelve. Children typically wear two braids, one over each ear which are frequently entwined with ribbons. Within Aiel culture, braided hair is a sign of childhood and is it not unheard of for adult women to be required to braid their hair to discharge Toh incurred from acting immature. The Wise One Amys once ordered Egwene al'Vere to braid her hair as a punishment for disobedience during her training to become a dreamer.
In the Kaensada Hills of Seanchan, tribesmen wear a their hair in a long braid as a sign of strength and bravery. To cut off one's braid, as Ajimbura did in deference to Karede, is to declare oneself a coward among one's own tribe.
The traditions of Malkier involve a man sitting at the feet of his carneira, meaning first lover, to weave a cord-like braid of his own hair called a daori. The hair is cut off at shoulder length after their first night together and the braid is kept by the carneira. She will present the daori to the man's bride on his wedding day. Custom dictates that while a man holds his daori his is at the whim of his carneira.