Namkaran is the Indian naming ceremony that is most often held on the twelfth day of an infant's life and is the first Hindu ceremony in the life of the child. The Namkaran may be held from the tenth day until the child's first birthday. The twelfth day is also the time that the baby's first horoscope is drawn up.
Kajal is a Mixture of Sandalwood, Soot, and Ghee.
According to Hindu tradition, the birth mother and her infant are considered to be ritually impure until the tenth day after birth. On the twelfth day postpartum, mother and child are given a ritual bath. At this time, the mother swathes the baby in a new cloth and applies a beauty mark to his cheek with the cosmetic known as kajal, which is also known as kohl; a mixture of sandalwood, soot, and ghee.
The baby is then placed in his father's lap and receives a blessing. The priest offers prayers to all of the Hindu gods including Agni; considered to be the god of fire and purification, as well as prayers to the elements and to the spirits of the forefathers. The priest asks all of these to bless the child and to protect him. He then places the sheet with the baby's horoscope in front of the deity for its blessings.
The father then leans toward the baby's right ear and whispers the baby's name. This is usually done with the aid of a betel leaf or some blades of grass rather than directly into the baby's ear. The Rig Veda, a Hindu religious text, sets forth a set formula for names consisting of four parts: the Nakshatra name which is a Hindu-based astrological name, the name of the deity of the month, the name of the family deity, and the popular name by which the child will be known. However, modern practice dictates that the baby is given a formal name as well as a nickname.
Some have the practice of combining the parents' names to create a name for the baby. Others name after the paternal grandparent, whereas still others have the custom of naming the first child after the father. Sometimes a baby will keep only the Nakshatra, or the name of his birth star. In other cases, the baby is named only with the name of the family deity or guru.
If the Baby Should Smack His Lips, This is a Moment of Supreme Joy.
Relatives and friends bless the infant and touch sugar or honey to the baby's lips and watch for him to smack his lips, a moment of supreme joy.
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