Baby shower and baby naming ceremony in India

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Godh Bharai-alias baby shower is an interesting north Indian Hindu ceremony which is also performed in most other parts of India. In Bengal it is known as Shaad, in Kerala Seemandham and in Tamil Nadu the Valakappu is the equivalent of the Godh Bharai. In Hindi Godh bharai literally means to ‘fill the lap’ with abundance.

When a pregnant woman has completed seven months of gestation, the baby is assumed to be viable and in a safe phase. So, the Bharai celebration is usually at the end of the seventh month or in the beginning of the eighth month in order to welcome the little one to the family and bless her with the abundant joys of motherhood. While the rituals followed in various parts of the country on the occasion of God Bharai may differ, however the essence remains the same – to bless the pregnant woman. The ceremony may include adorning the woman with jewelry, making her wear bangles, filling her lap with gifts and laying out a feast before her. Such gifts may include clothing for the baby, auspicious charms such as silver bangles and cash. It is a wonderful way for the family to be together and celebrate the arrival of a new member whilst giving the mother-to-be support at such an important phase in her life. It is also common for the ceremony to celebrate with singing and dancing. Being an exclusive women’s ceremony, Godh bharai is also marked with a fair amount of teasing and fun. It may include some games such as guessing the sex of the baby by the size and shape of the pregnant woman’s belly.

Naming ceremony

In Hindi language the baby naming ceremony is called Naamkaran, in Marathi Baarsaa. But whatever the name is, the most essencial that the naming day is the first real ceremony held for the newborn child. The first ten days after birth are considered an ‘impure’ time for the mother and child. At the twelfth day when the child’s horoscope has formally drawn up the mother and child are given a ritual bath (though, according to one convention, it can be held on any day after the tenth day, and before the first birthday). The mother swathes the baby in a piece of new cloth, applies kajal to its eyes, and makes a little beauty mark on the cheek. Then the baby is placed in the father’s lap to be blessed. The priest offers prayers to all the gods and to Agni, the god of fire and the purifying factor, the elements, and the spirits of the forefathers, and entreats them to bless and protect the child. He also places the sheet on which the child’s horoscope is written, in front of the image of the deity, for its blessings. Then, the father leans towards the baby’s right ear, and whispers its chosen name. Usually, the father does not whisper directly into the child’s ear, but uses a betel leaf or its silver imprint, or a few leaves of kusa grass to direct the words to the child’s ear.

How to find the proper name for the baby
The Rig Veda prescribes the formula of giving a name with four components: the nakshatra name, the name of the deity of the month, the family deity’s name, and the popular name by which the child will generally be addressed.
This system, however, is rarely followed these days. The usual practice is to give one formal name and, if necessary, a short name by which the child will be called.
Some people coin a suitable name from a combination of the parents’ names. In certain communities, the first child is named after the paternal grandparent; in others, the first son is given the same name as the father. Sometimes, the baby is named after the nakshatra, or star of its birth. The child could also be named after the family deity or guru.
After the naming ritual is over, friends and relatives who have invited for the ceremony can bless the child and touch some honey or sugar to its lips. It is a moment of all-round happiness if the baby smacks its lips.

Other rituals: Shub Mahurat means etching the language Pandits ceremony. The name of the choice is the first letter, however, the so called Kundali is based on is just a date of birth, and the position of the star after examining the possible position of celestial bodies, and this is only possible when the woman is on labour. (Today, in many cases, the astrologer, enter the first letter of the name of the unborn child).

Lamia, the legendary queen of Lybia was the victim of Greek goddess Hera’s jealousy, who out of revenge changed her into a snake, and according to legend was forced to hunt for snakes in the guise infants.

On the pictures is my friend Bharti with her baby Shanaya, who was born on the 13th of August 2011, on Saturday morning at 7 hours 54 minutes, by Caesarian section, and weighed 3 kg 65 grams-8,03 pounds



One thought on “Baby shower and baby naming ceremony in India

    Naz Kovacs said:
    October 17, 2011 at 2:12 am

    Very interesting to read especially about how they choose their child’s name.

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