Ear piercing is one of the oldest known forms of body modification, with artistic and written references from cultures around the world dating. Early evidence of earrings worn by men can be seen in archeological evidence from Persepolis in ancient Persia (Iran). The carved images of soldiers of the Persian Empire, displayed on surviving walls of the palace, show them wearing an ear ring.
Other early evidence of earring wearing is evident in the Biblical record. In Exodus 32:1-4, it is written that while Moses was up on Mount Sinai, the Israelites demanded that Aaron make a god for them. He commanded them to bring their sons' and daughters' earrings to him in order that he might comply with their demand.
Among sailors, a pierced earlobe was a symbol that the wearer had sailed around the world or had crossed the equator. In addition, it is believed that a gold earring was worn by sailors in payment for a proper burial in the event they drowned at sea and their bodies washed up on shore. It was hoped that the earring would serve as payment for "a proper christian burial".
Pierced ears were popular in the United States through the early 1900s, then fell into disfavor among women due to the rising popularity of clip-on earrings.
In India, nearly all the girls and some boys get their ears pierced in a religious ceremony before they are about 5 years old. Infants may get their ears pierced as early as several days after their birth. Similar customs are practiced in other Southeast Asian countries, although traditionally, most males wait to get their ears pierced until they have reached young adulthood.