Traditions and Customs for Naming Hindu Babies

Hindu mythology says that the naming ceremony for a newborn baby should be held on the 12th day after he or she is born and that it is principally a woman’s ceremony. On the scheduled day all of the female friends and relatives will converge to participate in this beautiful and colorful ceremony. The child is the most important part of the ceremony and this is when they will be officially given their given name.

During this auspicious time, the new baby is placed into the cradle or jhula, which has been decorated with plenty of colorful ribbons and flowers. All of the women surround the jhula and will sing the traditional songs that are part of the ceremony that rhyme with the chosen name for the newborn. Traditionally, sugar and rice grains are brought along with toys that mark the auspicious ceremony.

However, there are particular Hindi communities that only hold the naming ceremony after the newborn baby is 3 months old. This means that the newborn can’t be put into the jhula by this time and a sturdy and colorful piece of cloth, usually green or red, is then used to hold the newborn. Also put in the cloth are various items that are given for good omens, including haldi or turmeric, supari or betel nuts, nagarvel paan or green chewing paan, moong, dry cuts and quarter rupee or one rupee coins. Hindu mythology sees a quarter and one as good luck signs.

Also, traditionally the aunts or the sisters of the newborn’s father will hold each of the four corners of the colorful cloth that holds the child. They will then gently swing it, which mimics the rocking movements of the cradle, while the other female participants continue on singing the traditional songs. One of the typical songs that is sung at the naming ceremony goes as follows:

Oly Jholy Pipal Paan
Fui e Padyu Baby Nu Naam.

The names that are given by the Hindus to their children are often based upon the Hindu raashis since it is thought to be auspicious and thought to bring the child good fortune. The raashi is based upon the planetary positions during the exact time of the birth of the child and the date. This can give the parents a wide variety of different options for a name, which they can then choose. However, most often the given name of the children isn’t used, but they are instead given a nickname that everyone calls them by.

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