Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Indian baby shower ceremony Godh Bharai

God Bharai is a special celebration that takes place to endow blessings upon the Hindu pregnant woman. This is the Indian version of a baby shower, a ceremony to welcome the unborn child into the family and give the mother abundant blessings and gifts for the two of them symbolizing happiness in the future of the couple. The Indian baby shower ceremony is known as Godh Bharai in North india and by several other names in different parts of the country, like Seemandham in Kerela while being known as Shaad in West Bengal. The gujarati Godh Bharai ceremony is known as Srimanth where all the sisters-in-law have a important role. The name and godh bharai rituals may vary from community to community, but the basic idea is to bless the child and the family with blessings in abundance.

When does baby shower in India take place?

The meaning of baby shower or Godh Bharai a special ceremony held in North India to welcome the baby soon to be born in the family. This ceremony takes place when the woman completes her 7th month of pregnancy. The literal meaning of the term “God Bharai” is to fill the lap, as the woman’s lap is filled with fruits and gifts for the baby and the mother as a part of the Godh bharai rasam (ritual).

How does the godh bharai ceremony take place?

The couple is very excited about this ceremony and makes endless preparations. At the end of the seventh month, the baby is considered to be at a safe stage and hence this ceremony marks the beginning of celebrations owing to the joy of a new baby in the family. The Hindu baby shower ceremony takes place traditionally in the presence of only women, and involves several sacred rituals, games, music and dances.

First of all, the mother-to-be is dresses in a special saree and anointed by herbal oils that are considered holy by female elders of the family. Thereafter, a puja is conducted before the festivities begin. The pregnant lady is made to wear jewels like bangles especially made for this occasion and her lap is filled with godh bharai gifts like jewels, fruits, sweets, clothes and cash for the mother. In a majority of homes, the gifts are meant only for the mother while the gifts for the baby are given only after the birth.

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