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Monday, May 3, 2010

Annaprashan - the Bengali rice-tasting ceremony of babies, begining of a new phase in life

It so happened that I was going through old pictures of Navya's and just came across this one...... Its the one taken on her Annaprashan, the rice-tasting ceremony...Here she is wearing a traditional Bengali mukut.....
The Annaprashan is an important ceremony in any Bengali family. The child is given its first solid food,in this case rice, and marks an important event in baby's life.
The day mainly starts with a giving baby a bath and putting on a new dress. Then there is a puja performed, mostly at the local temple, but some people also do it at home.
Many parents and grandparents adorn the baby with jewellery...little gold bangles,tiny gold rings,little earrings for the baby and sometimes even a thin gold chain.
The baby wears a mukut on her head and after the holy chants are over,the mama,mother's brother,usually feeds the baby with a spoonful of paayesh (kheer cooked with rice).
After the paayesh is had a simple game is played. On a plate is arranged a book (which symbolises an interest in studies and the intellect),a silver coin and some cash (that symbolises an interest in accumulating wealth,a pen (which symbolises wisdom),clay (which symbolises an interest in accumulating property) and food (which symbolises a love for food).Whatever the child picks up symbolises what the child's interests would be in later life. The family stands around the child and cheers her/him to pick something of their choice,all in good fun..and then everyone claps and cheers as the baby shows its choice.
Just a small fun occasion but so important for everyone around....