In a Hindu customs, various ceremonies in accordance with the Vedic rules are observed to mark the important aspects of life. Each of the customs has a specific ritual performed in the presence of the a priests, who is also called Brahman.
Some of the ceremonies area described below:
Hindu Customs: Name Giving
The nature giving ceremony is held from the 9th to 11th day of the birth of a child. The ceremony is organized in accordance with the Vedic rules. As per the Hindu custom, a Brahman, well versed in the vedas, is called to perform the rituals. He offers worship to the Vedic gods like Prajapati, Surya (the Sun), Agni (the fire) and other ancestral deities, and finally chooses a name for the baby taking account of the position of the different planets. The name is written on a leaf the holy tree. ‘Peepal’, and the father (sometimes the guru) of the child whispers the name to the child. This ceremony concludes with a hearty feast.
This ceremony has another aspect too. It is, in a way, a purifying ceremony. The house of the child brith is supposed to be unholy for many purposes; none of the family member are allowed to take part in religious ceremonies before the name giving ceremony. The entire household is supposed to be purified by this ceremony.
Hindu Custom: First feeding
As per the Hindu custom, this ceremony is held after 6 months of birth if the child is male and after 5 months if the child is female. An astrologer chooses a suitable occasion after studying the position of the planets. Many deities including ancestral deities are worshipped and the baby is fed with the spoon made of precious metals like gold and silver. Relatives and friends are invited and a heavy feast is organized.
Hindu Custom: Tonsure
As per Hindu customs, tonsure is called ‘chudakarma’ in Nepali. As per the Hindu custom, this ceremony is held to cut the hair with which a child is born for the first time. This is done between one to five years after the birth of a child. A brahman chooses the auspicious occasion, various deities are offered worship, the instruments that are to be used are worshipped and finally, the father of the child cuts his child’s hair with a golden razor. The child’s maternal uncle offers various gifts to the child on the occasion.
Hindu Custom: Initiation
As per Hindu customs, initiation is called ‘upanayan’ or ‘bratabanda’ in Nepali. This ceremony is held to mark the time the boys or girl can take part in religious rituals and sacraments. This also shows that he/she has reached the age suitable for the persuasion of knowledge. Girls are not initiation these days.
This two day ceremony begins with the purification of the boy through fasting and observing certain rules. His head is clean shaved on this day. On the following day a ritual called “homa” is performed and the boy is dressed like a sage. The boy, dressed thus, imitates the action of a sage going door to door for alms. After this the boy is initiated with ‘mantras’. Different castes are given different mantras. Brahman boys are given Gayatri mantra Kshetri boys are given Tristup mantra and Vaishya boys are given Jagati mantra. The ceremony concludes when the boy is offered different types of presents.
About the Article
This Article and upcoming posts are extracted from the book, TOURIST INFORMATION DIRECTORY, 1997. by my Late Father Journalist, Sociologist & Anthropologists, Er. Ramesh Chandra Bandhu Bhattarai.
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