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


The 3d encounter: the Diwali

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To our great honor we were invited to the famous Diwali feast by our Indian friends in the beginning of November. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights and it is so important for Indian people such as for the Americans the Thanksgiving. We accepted happily the invitation partly because it was a great opportunity to participate in a “live” Indian feast, instead of only watching on the TV. When I rang the bell of the neat little house, Bharti and her husband had already stood at the entrance path, with their few Indian friends, all in festively dressed. A few invited non-Indian guests sat and listened to some music in the lounge. After admiring the apartment and their vitrine where for the main location was displayed the wedding pillow, I was offered a non-alcoholic drink with a sweet snack (sweetened grated carrot with a mixture of cashew nuts). We were just drinking our refresher when the men suddenly stood up and ran out. -Now a little presentation will come-explained Bharti, and put an Indian CD into their computer – “We may go out into the yard now,” she gave us the instruction. Rose petals were scattered away, the men lined up, and formed a circle according to the sounds of music, and began to dance. The story of the song could be something funny, as we puzzled from their gestures, probably about some fishing adventure because I guessed there was an imaginary net scooped into the sea ….or it could be any other funny hunting event, anyway they laughed through the whole thing, while we could only speculate what could the story be as we didn’t speak the Marathi language. After the dance show we returned to the dining room. Just captured our place at the table when Bharti had brought the dishes, appetizers, main dishes, desserts all at once, rice, with coriander yogurt sauce, decorated with a large green leaf, (to me it was unknown) then the famous pakora (fried flour breaded chickpeas), with hot sauce, and the orange juice and boiled milk, flavored with cashew and star anis. Alcohol, meat according to their religions were not allowed on the table, as Bharti came from the vegetarian region of India and her husband too. We rioted in the flavors, but we felt ourselves a bit like being in the tales of La Fontaine: in The Stork and the Fox story, to the effect that we were so illiterate about Indian cuisine. The coriander yogurt sauce, the rice were harmonized, I loved pakora very much so the dinner was very enjoyable. When we finished the dinner we adjourned to the parlor and then Vaihbao, as a good host asked us whether we liked the taste of Indian cuisine or not? It was very nice and I’d like to have all recipes of the saoji cuisine-because I want to enrich my vegetarian repertoir–I replied. In San Francisco in the Indian restaurants we ate dishes only with meat such as Tandori chicken, and some Hungarian stew-alike dish (do not remember of its name) with the famous idli so it was a very interesting new experience.

-Do you like idli? Then I will prepare it next time with some other woman stuff such as the poha, just for us -winked Bharti. And she did!


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Dying for the era of Diana

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To the memory of Lady Diana Spencer who would be 50 on 1st of July

The obsession with celebrity that led to her death also defined the era she lived in

SHE DIED FOR A BLURRY PICTURE, a pointless snap from a speeding motorcycle that might have appeared on an inside spread of Hello! or Paris Match or some other glossy of no consequence.

It is unfair to the real Diana Spencer, by all accounts a nice person who used her fame well, that her death so symbolizes the emptiness of celebrity worship, the false faith of the end of the 20th century. Dodging tabloid photographers, she was doing her bit not just to preserve some privacy but to hold back forces that she helped unleash-forces of media intrusion that will now be subjected to an unprecedented backlash. In a twisted way, she died in the line of duty, not to country but to the age she came to represent. Historians are likely to judge that Diana’s reign she did owed its brilliance to the tranquility of the times. With no global wars or cataclysm no Hitler or Churchill to dominate the public realm, we could turn our full attention to diversion of gossip and fantasy. We now routinely view image and spectacle as large with meaning with old-fashioned substance suddenly the boring trifle. The irony is that with the end of her short life. Di may well achieve a political goal more substantial than of all but a few politicians. The shock of her death is being likened to the Kennedy assassination in 1963. Clearly the analogy seems overdrawn their forever young influences on popular culture notwithstanding. Diana wasn’t president and her death leaves no creative vacuum like that on Elvis Presley or John Lennon. But just as Kennedy memorial was the civil rights act Diana s could be ratification of a treaty banning land mines, not just in Britain but in the USA where skeptical senators may now have to contend with a new public groundswell. This could yet yield for her reputation as a first-rank humanitarian as well as immortal icon of style. If Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, Lady Di launched at least a thousand of covers, and hundreds of millions of newspaper and magazine sales. In the 16 years since her marriage she became not only the most famous woman in the world but the only personality who consistently sold big in the global marketplace. While paparazzis are not a new phenomenon Di as prey took the game to a new level. Instead of 3 or 4 photographers trailing a celebrity it could in her case be 30 or 40, each hoping for that six-figure shot. This created a strange and perhaps emblematic protocol of coverage: the president of France can stroll down the Champs-Elysées undisturbed: a divorced ex-royal couldn’t leave a restaurant without a high speed chase. Di came to understand that the tabloids were simultaneously the bane of her existence and the source of her strength. In the recent years she not only developed working relationships with tabloid editors but learned to exploit publicity for her cause, be it skewering Charles or raising money for charity. One reason for her popularity was that the public essentially shared her spurgle-and purgle attitude toward celebrity news. Readers buy it and bemoan it without fully confronting the contradictions. They want to inspect the clay feet of their heros-then cry for the head of the sculptor. Will this global hypocrisy market still work as it always has? In the short run, only a foolish publication would pay for gory pictures of the accident. To do so would risk a boycott. The more difficult question is whether Diana s death might change the tabloid culture permanently. In recent years with global news proliferating photographers have gone from being a minor annoyance that came with the territory of fame to being a major source of anxiety for public figures. As their private loathing of the press boils over publicly, it will likely find a ready audience among millions already fed up with the news media-any new medium. The distinction between tabloids and so-called respectable news org will be difficult to uphold in the recriminations that lie ahead, and for good reason. If there had been no accident and the motorcycle paparazzi in the Paris tunnel had obtained a good shoot of Di and Dodi kissing, most of the world s newspapers would have checked over the price paid for first rights to the shot-then published it themselves.

Ultimately nothing much can change because media coverage is the oxygen of modern public life. Watch as celebrityhood is transmogrified into secular sainthood, courtesy of a publicity machine that will turn even its own remorse into just another story. Perhaps that’s appropriate, for it is the mighty communications culture that made Diana and shapes the world she left. The princess will never be queen, but maybe the titles don’t mean much. The England in which she lived will never be remembered as Elizabethan. It will be The Di Era.

 So sad she had to die for it.

after by J. Altar

Mardi gras

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mardi gras

Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras