Namkaran Ceremony – a Hindu Naming Ceremony in Honor of a Newborn Child
The ‘Namkaran ceremony’ is the popular naming ceremony that is held in the honor of a new born child. It is a traditional Hindu ceremony in which the baby is given a name according to the Hindu religion. It is considered to be a very important ritual, and is a must for every parent. It has a social as well as a legal relevance as both these fields are necessary.
The Namkaran ceremony is usually held on the twelfth day of the birth of the newborn baby. According to the customs, it should be held on any day between the tenth day of the child’s birth and his first birthday. This is because they say that the first ten days are impure for the child and the mother.
The mother is held in high esteem on this day as she is the medium by which the child to came into this world. She is honored in a special way. A ritual bath is given to the mother and the baby. The baby is wrapped up in a piece of brand new cloth and kajal is applied to the eyes of the baby.
The mother also marks a little beauty spot on the baby’s cheeks with the kajal to prevent the child from evil eyes. After this, the father of the baby takes the baby on his laps to give the blessings. Many guests and relatives are invited to this ceremony. They come to bless the newborn with blessings of a pious and good life. The guests and relatives also bring tokens of gifts or presents as blessings for the child.
The Namkaran ceremony also involves the priest performing the various rituals by making offerings to the Fire God, Agni and also to the souls of the forefathers and ancestors of that particular family. This is done to ask the gods, goddesses and the forefathers to come and bless the child.
A sheet of paper is kept in front of the idol, or the deity which is meant for writing the horoscope of the child by the priest. After this ritual, the child’s father whispers the selected name into the child’s ears. A betel leaf or the leaves of the Kusa grass are used to utter the words in the right ear of the baby.
There is a special way of giving the name of the child. It has been prescribed by the Rig Vedas. It says that the name of an individual should have four main components. The first component is the Nakshatra (star) name of the child. The next component is the consideration of the month in which the child was born. The next component is dependent on the family deity’s name and the last component is the popular name that the child will be called in his entire life.
But this custom has lost its value in the present day. The custom followed today is only a formal name and if at all necessary, then a pet name is given to the baby. The naming ceremony is a joyous moment for the whole family and it is a ritual which highlights the importance of human life.
The naming ceremony has become a much highlighted ceremony nowadays. People celebrate it with as much enthusiasm as if they are celebrating the wedding of their children.
Many people also distribute invitation cards to invite people formally for this occasion. Nowadays the trend has also extended to videos and photographs which, though expensive for a common man, is a good way of keeping memories alive for years to come.
Though in India, it is celebrated in a simple and in a traditional way at the home itself, many rich people of the society prefer it in the luxurious five star hotels. So the traditional magic of these ceremonies is getting diminished slowly and steadily. It has also become a difficult situation for the middle class families who earlier used to dread only the expense of the wedding ceremonies of their children.
The present day situation makes them spend even on these naming ceremonies which was only a small family affair in the olden times. Everybody wants their kids to get the best out of everything in life.
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