Mundan sanskar or Tonsuring is a Hindu ceremony in which a baby’s first hair after birth are saved. Mundan ceremony is also known as Chudakarana. Similar ceremonies are also performed in Muslim and Sikh communities in India.
When is Mundan performed?
Mundan is performed during the first or third year of baby’s birth. It should be done in an odd year and in an odd month. It is usually performed in the 7th , 9th or 11th month.
Why is mundan done?
According to religious texts, mundan ceremony is supposed to cleanse baby of sins of the previous birth. It is also believed that shaving head stimulates blood circulation in head and quality of hair that grows after mundan is thicker and better.
How is the mundan ceremony performed?
In some cases, a havan or homa is done by a priest on the day of Mundan. A barber specialising in the ritual of Mundan is called home or baby is taken to the temple, which the head is shaved.
The shaved off hair is not thrown away. It is kept and when possible, offered to God or to a river. In some cases, especially for boys, a small tuft is left at the top of head. This is known as shikha or choti.
No soap or shampoo is applied for at least a couple of days to ensure no irritation happens to the sensitive skin of baby . After the mundan, a natural paste of sandalwood and turmeric is applied to baby’s head. Sandalwood is known for its cooling properties, while turmeric is antiseptic, thus helps in healing of any cut and bruises.
Modernisation od mundan ceremony
In current times of nuclear families, with most people staying far away from their ancestral homes, it is not always possible to get to a temple or get a barber from a temple. These days, most salons provide baby head shaving facilities with one or more persons specialising in doing the process.
Precautions to follow for mundan
You should plan the ceremony well in advance to ensure there are no problems on the day.
- Check whether the barber specializes in doing baby mundans.
- Take prior appointment at the temple or salon to ensure you get the right person.
- Always ensure that the barber uses a new blade on the razor and any other equipment is sterilized.
- Make sure that baby is well rested. It can be quite difficult to manage a cranky baby.
- If you are lucky, baby might remain asleep during the ceremony.
- Do not sit in front of the mirror with the baby. Baby may get scared watching the process.
Care after Mundan
- Do not put shampoo or soap on baby’s head on that day. Wash well with water.
- Apply turmeric and sandalwood paste on baby’s head as antiseptic. Else apply a gentle antiseptic cream to heal any cut and bruises.