Among the objects specially made for the ritual of “tūsau kesu” (cutting off the bonds), the “ala bau” is a symbolically significant object. It is a two-coloured woollen thread (usually black and white) with which the legs of a one-year-old child are tied together in the shape of a figure eight (similar to the infinity sign) and then ceremonially cut by a person commanding respect and authority. The ritual is intended to help the child grow faster and walk and run with confidence. Symbolically, it means to open the way to a long and happy life.

The roots of the ritual “derive” from ancient shamanic practises in which the ala bau was considered the life thread of mortals. For the transitional period in a child’s life (preparation for walking), it symbolised binding, entwining, girding, which had a variety of cultural interpretations in shamanic practise. The ala bau threads, according to ancient beliefs, probably also served to shape the child’s ability to free himself from all fetters (peripetia of life) in the future.