Namkaran is Hindu naming ceremony or christening. Namkaran is usually the first big ceremony after a baby is born.Namkaran in Hindi literally means “making of name “, i.e. the day when a name is given to a newborn baby.
When to organise Namkaran ?
In some parts of India, it is held on the twelfth day , but it can be done anytime before baby’s first birthday. In certain parts of India, it is done in 3rd or 5th or 7th or 9th month for girls and in 6th or 8th month for boys.
How is Namkaran performed ?
A priest is usually called to perform the religious rites or puja. This usually accompanies a hawan or homa. Baby is bathed and dressed in new clothes. Friends and relatives are invited to bless the new baby. The priest would perform puja and consult patri to suggest a letter which is good for baby. This is based on hindu astrology. Baby’s horoscope is also drawn on this day. If parents have decided on a name, it is whispered in baby’s ear by an elder of the family.
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These days the ceremony is conducted, but the name is not always kept according to the custom. Parents usually prefer to have a name which they like and have decided upon or they may have two names.
In some parts, baby is also fed something other than milk for the first time on this day. This is called Annaprashan.
Attire/ clothes for Namkaran ?
It is common to dress baby in new clothes for the ceremony. Usually, parents choose traditional clothes for the occasion. However, it is good to keep a few things in mind while choosing clothes for baby :
1) Choose loose-fitting, comfortable clothes for baby.
2) Choose clothes depending on the weather. If the weather is hot, do not make baby wear heavy silks as it will only make baby uncomfortable. On the other hand, if weather is cold, ensure baby is well-dressed in warm clothes.
3) Choose clothes which do not have too much embroidery and embellishments. These will only make baby uncomfortable and may even lead to rashes or injuries.
4) Try to choose nice, festive cotton clothes for baby. If that is not possible, dress baby first in a thin cotton vest and then put on other clothes. This will minimize contact of irritants to baby’s delicate skin.
5) Change baby to comfortable clothes as soon as the ceremony is over.
Jewellery for Baby on Namkaran?
It is common to make baby wear jewellery on the ocassion of Namkaran. Keep below points in mind when putting jewellery on baby :
1) Keep jewellery to minimum. Do not make baby wear everything, you have bought or have got as a gift.
2) Do not make baby wear rings, as babies often put fingers in their mouth and may accidentally swallow rings.
3) Do not put any jewellery on head or hair, as it will require putting clips on baby’s hair, which can be irritating to baby.
4) Do not make baby wear heavy necklaces or anklets. A light chain and anklet at max is best. Take off jewellery as soon as the ceremony is over.
5) Do not put heavy garlands or flower jewellery on baby. They can irritate your baby delicate skin and cause rashes.
Making it a happy day for your baby
Your baby is still too young to fend for herself and depends on you to ensure her welfare.
There is a tendency to get carried away during such ceremonies, but keeping a few things in mind will ensure both your guests and baby are happy :
1) Ensure that baby is well-rested before the ceremony. Try to ensure that the time of ceremony does not coincide with your baby’s nap time.
2) Feed the baby before the ceremony, so that she is not hungry at that time.
3) Keep baby’s diaper bag handy with all necessities handy. Diapers, wipes , water, formula, food (if solids have been started) should be close at hand.
4) Keep your baby’s favorite toys close by to comfort her, if she starts crying or gets cranky.
5) Choose a venue which is spacious and comfortable. Ensure you have some privacy, in case baby needs feeding during the function.
6) Keep guests to a minimum. Close family and friends should be invited. Too many people might scare and overwhelm your baby making it a traumatic experience.
7) Do not allow anything to be fed to your baby which is not safe for her age. Below 1 year honey, cow’s milk etc is not recommended by experts.
8) Do not allow everyone to pick baby up. It is already overwhelming for baby to see so many new faces, but going from one to another may scare some babies.
9) Follow your baby’s cues. If your baby is uncomfortable or wants to sleep or feed, ensure you tend to her needs.
Carry baby’s stroller where she can sleep peacefully if a bad etc is not available at hand.
10) Never leave your baby alone even for a minute. Always keep an eye on baby.
11) Keep the place well-ventilated in case you have a hawan. Do not make baby sit near the fire as smoke may choke the baby or baby might handle something hot by accident.