Sunday, May 17, 2009

Namakarana - Naming ceremony

Naming a baby is a religious ceremony for the Hindus. In Kerala, usually a baby boy is named on the 27th day after birth and a girl is named on the 28th day after birth. The right day for the ceremony is defined by Gruhyasutras and there are different opinions for the same. Even these dates were to be postponed if there is any lack of religious propriety as in events like a Sankranti, Sraddha ceremony etc. On that day, the baby is given a bath and a black thread is tied around the waist. There will be a feast and distribution of sweets like "payasam". Later, either the father, uncle, grandma or the most senior person of a household whispers thrice into the right ear of the baby, his or her name for the first time.

But according to Sastras, the naming ceremony is supposed to be conducted on the 11th day or 101the day. Different kinds of pujas and homams are conducted on that day. After whispering the name three times into the ear of the baby, the person who conducts the naming ceremony explains the meaning of the name to the assembled people. He also tells the baby that from that day he/she will be called by that name and may the Gods bless to bring glory to that name. After the name is announced, each of the assembled people calls the baby by that name and offers blessings.

9 comments:

  1. Nice recap.
    Why is a black thread put on the waist? I noticed that many kids have this until five or six years or more.

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  2. The ceremony on the 28th day is called Irupathi Ettu Kettu/Aranjanam Kettal in Kerala. Irupathiettu = 28, kettu=knot, Aranjanam=thread/ornament around the waist. Usually one in black cotton and the other a chain in gold are interwined and tied around the waist of the child. This thread is called 'Aranjanam'.

    According to some, it is to ward of evil spirits/evil eye. It is considered to be protective. Aranjanam is worn by people of all age groups and the function of it may be just ornamental or religious. Sometimes it is kept in puja by a tantri and special karmas performed to give it spiritual powers to protect the individual wearing it.

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  3. Is there any way to subscribe to your posts?
    coralcrue@gmail.com

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  4. Move the cursor to the right side of this website to get a sliding panel with the subscribe button on the bottom. Thanks for reading.

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  5. My boyfriend is from Kerala and he still wears the Aranjanam, but the one he was wearing recently broke. I know it means a lot for him and I would like to give him another one, but I was wondering if its only something that family can do, or if its appropriate for me to do so. I also have no idea where to obtain it (we live in the US). Help me out?

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    Replies
    1. indian jewellers can make it for you. look out for desi shops. generally done by family.You can become family :-)

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  6. In my knowledge the Aranjanam is tied also to protect the baby in such a way that the very limited qty of milk or solids that the baby eat to remain in the stomach without being passed away as urine or stool to give good health to the baby............ as told by my mom.

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  7. i have a doubt i have heard at so many places that noolukettu is on 28th day for boys can u suggest the reference regarding 27th day for boy and 28 for girl if there is a difference in both boys and girls why is it so

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  8. Exactly Anonymous. In my place it is 27th for baby boy and 28th for baby girl. But wiki suggests the opposite at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naming_ceremony#Hinduism

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