Child Birth Rituals Of Hinduism

Childbirth is the most miraculous and beautiful creation of nature. When a child takes birth it is considered to be the most auspicious occasion in a family. To celebrate this happening and to ensure a peaceful and happy lifecycle of the new member, Hindu mythology has created many sanskaras. Let’s have a detailed look at the rituals followed.

JATAKARMAN

What is it Jatakarman and why is it done?

Jata means origin or bring into existence and Karman means action or activity. So, Jatakarman refers to the birth rite of the child. This is mentioned in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad in verses 6.4.24 to 6.4.27 which describes the rite of passage. To eliminate the defects in the foetus, and to liberate the child from any kind of bad karma from previous life.

 How is it done?

These rituals are completed within a week of the birth of the child and sometimes on the 10th day. The baby is first welcomed to existence by the father, by touching the baby’s lips with honey and ghee. Certain Vedic hymns are also recited in order to create positive vibes in the soul of the baby. The first set of hymns is explained in Gryhasutra which is done to initiate the baby’s mind with intellect in the womb of the mother and the second part of the hymns is done to wish the baby a long life.

When a child is born, the fire is prepared, child is placed in the lap and then a mix of  Dahi and Ghrita kept in a metal jug is poured into the fire. At the end of the ritual the father gives the baby to the mother’s breast for feeding.

NAMAKARANA

namakaran

Why is it done?

This is done to bring prosperity and longevity to the child.

How is it done?

It is performed on the tenth or the twelfth day after the child’s birth. In this sankaram worship of Lord Ganapati, Punyahavachan, Matruka deities and Nandishraddha are done. At first the infant is given bath and dressed up with new clothes. Then the name which has been decided for him is given to him by a holy priest. The priest chants certain hymns and asks God for its approval. A social gathering is also followed by this activity where friends and relatives come to give their blessings to the child.

NISHKRAMAN

nishkarman

Why is it done?

This is done to bring wealth, success and honour for the child. It also asks for a longer and easy lifespan.

How is it done?

This sanskar is performed in the third month after birth on the same date as the date of. The baby is made to look at fire, a cow and the moon at an auspicious time. The ishtadevtas are worshiped for this ritual and offered sandalwood paste, rice and flowers. Mantras are chanted and the child is held on the lap by his parents and other relatives to give the blessing of security. After this Lord Shiva is worshipped by making the child sit on a heap of food grains smeared with cowdung. Hymns are chanted and Prasad offered to Mahadev.

ANNAPRASHAN

annaprashan

Why is it done?

This sanskaram is done to ensure good health and an efficient lifestyle for the baby.

How is it done?

This occasion is celebrated to offer the child his first intake of food other than milk. A priest performs certain rituals on an auspicious day and the child is made to have food. The ceremony is carried out when the child in the sixth or the eighth month in case of a boy and the fifth or any month with an odd number in case of a girl. It is proposed feeding the child cooked rice mixed with ghee, or with honey, curd and ghee. Lord Ganesh, the Matruka deities, Svastivachan, and Nandishraddha are worshipped for this sanskaram.

The child should be placed to one’s right on a white cloth placed on the mother’s lap, in front of the deity facing the east and should then be fed food for the first time. Food should be put in a gold or bronze vessel and the holy hyms should be recited. After the child has had its first mouth fill he should be placed on the ground.

CHUDAKARANA

chudakarana

Why is it done?

This sanskar is performed in order to attain longevity, strength and radiance. Entry of the sattva frequencies from the universe through the Brahmarandhra is facilitated by this ritual.

How is it done?

This is the first haircut for the child and is customarily performed when the child is about one year old. The child’s hair is shaven and only some hair known as the Chula is kept on top of the head. The removed hairs are then offered to a river. The importance of keeping a small portion of hair is that it acts as an antenna to collect all the positive frequencies of the universe.

KARNAVEDHA

karnavedha

Why is it done?

It is done to open the inner ears of the child for receiving sacred sounds which in turn will cleanse all the sins and nurture the spirit.

 

How is it done?

It is an ear piercing ceremony that occurs in the third or fifth year for some children of Hindu parents usually Brahmins. It can also be performed in later years. This is considered to be one of the sixteen major Samskaras (Shodasha Samskaras) during the course of their lifetime.

Nowadays the Chudakarana and Karnavedha are done together as Upanayanam (thread ceremony).

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