Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until six months of age. Therefore, once the baby reaches this benchmark, it’s time to start solids. In Hindu tradition, this happens with the bang of Annaprashan/Annaprasana or rice-eating ceremony. Find out everything about Annaprashan (first rice eating ceremony) for baby boys.
Witnessing the growing milestones of your baby is a memorable moment in a parent’s life. Many ceremonies are conducted in different cultures and religions to mark these turning points in the child’s life.
Annaprashan is one of those ceremonies that pour blessings and wishes to the infant as he enters a new phase of life.
Annaprashan/Annaprasana is the holy ceremony, which is a part of Hindu Culture, and that marks the beginning of a baby’s first food intake apart from the milk. It is celebrated in many parts of India and called by many names.
Among Hindu families in Kerala, it is called “choroonnu”, whereas, in Bengal, the rice eating ceremony is known as Mukhe Bhaat. This kind of ceremony is also found among Parsis. For convenience, you can call it a weaning ceremony or rice eating ceremony.
Annaprashan is one of the most important ceremonies in Hindu families that come before the first birthday of the infant. The other two important ceremonies are jatakarma/ ceremony in which we welcome the newborn to this world, and namakarana, or naming ceremony.
Even though the rites and rituals of Annaprashan vary from region to region, the basic concept is the same – welcome the baby to the world of solid foods.
The baby gets his first teeth around the sixth month. This is the body’s way to signify the baby is ready to eat solids. The nutritional needs of the baby also increase around this time as they go through another growth spurt.
Also, around 6 months the digestive system of the baby enters the next level, eligible to digest many food items. All these provide a favorable situation to start solids. Annaprasana for baby boys is held in even months.
Usually, this function is performed during the sixth or eighth month. Either way, it should be performed before the baby turns one year old.
The importance of Annaprasana can vary from one person to another. However, the ritual is based on the same principle. Bless the baby during one of his big steps on the journey of life. Food has an important part in our life. So, it is worth a day of celebration when the little one is ready to start his solids.
This occasion is considered sacred and important as it marks a milestone in the growth and development of the baby. It is during this ceremony, the baby gets introduced to staple food – rice. This ceremony is usually conducted in a holy ambiance. Even though it varies, all rice-eating ceremonies have some rituals.
During the occasion of Annaprasana for baby boys, the baby is dressed in a beautiful costume. More often, the traditional costume of that particular region opts as an Annaprasana dress for the baby boy. The home or venue where the ceremony is conducted will be beautifully decorated.
Relatives, well-wishers, and friends will be invited to bless the baby. The feast will be arranged to feed the invitees.
The baby boy’s Annaprasana can be conducted either at home or in a rented venue. However, traditionally it was conducted in a house or temple. Recently, parents have been going the extra mile, assigning two whole days for the ceremony.
On the first day of Annaprasana for baby boys, most of the traditional ceremonies will be conducted. The second day is the time for partying and feasting with friends and family.
Some parents think of performing Annaprasana for baby boys in some particular temple or temples as a part of their offering. In that case, the baby will start to have his solids only after performing this ceremony in those temples.
In Kerala, most of the temples provide assistance to conduct this ceremony. Some temples are even especially renowned for this ceremony(for example, Guruvayoor). On the other hand, when you go to central or eastern India, most of the families opt to perform Annaprashan at home. In that case, there will be a priest or pandit to help with the religious rituals.
It is important to know the food should be included and not be included in a ceremony of Annaprasana for baby boy.
Many traditions say that the baby should be introduced to three main tastes – sour, sweet, and salt – during this ceremony. However hot and pungent items should not be included in the Annaprasana ceremony.
Even though some communities include dishes like pulao, meat, and fish, traditionally non-vegetarian items are not included during the ceremony of Annaprashan.
Only simple and healthy items, mostly food that is prepared in the home especially for the baby is offered during the Annaprasana of baby boys. The main food items served during the Annaprashan are:
Every dish prepared for the baby will be touched to his tongue at least once during that day. In many traditions, the maternal uncle of the baby is used to perform the feeding. In some parts of India, the father, or mother is also used to feed the baby on that day.
Before starting the Annaprasana for baby boys, it is important to arrange all needed things including the Annaprasana food items for baby boys. All the pooja samagris (holy items like lamps, flowers, basil leaves, etc) should be arranged in advance. Here is a quick checklist of the most commonly needed items for Annaprasana for baby boys.
A specific day that suits your baby should be fixed after consulting a Pandit. The rituals of the ceremony may differ from region to region. However, some basic customs remain the same for many regions.
Some common steps of Annaprasana for baby boy are:
After deciding the date and venue, the first step is inviting friends and family. Your baby boy needs all the blessings of elder family members. Also, this is an occasion during which you can introduce your little prince to your friend circle.
Some parents choose to celebrate this auspicious occasion grandly by designing Annaprasana cards for the invitation. In fact, some parents place their baby’s palm prints on the card to give it a personal touch.
This is another important step of Annaprasana for a baby boy. When it comes to Annaprasana, the utensil in which the baby’s first food is being cooked is very important. Some metals from which the utensils are made, for example, silver, copper, iron, etc. have medicinal value.
Silver spoon and bowl are mostly used to give the baby his first food. Many families have this item in their home, which is passed down from generations. Silver metal is believed to be most positive for the body.
Now, let’s make out the step-by-step procedure of Patra Pujan:
Kheer is the ideal first food to use for Annaprasana for baby boy. It is important to make the first meal from the bottom of your heart with lots of prayers. It is usually prepared by the mother or grandmother of the baby.
While preparing kheer for Annaprasana for the baby boy they pray for the baby to attain good health, good luck, mental stability, prosperity, great thinking abilities, and good character.
Kheer is an integral part of Annaprasana for baby boys in many cultures. There is a reason behind this. First of all the white color of kheer represents purity and divinity. Another reason is it is easy to digest.
This step of Annaprasana for the baby boy is to seek blessings for the first meal of the baby. For this, the whole kheer which is prepared along with the vessel in which it is prepared is kept in a pooja room or the worship place. This first meal is offered 5 times to the fire that is lightened in the pooja room.
If there is a Pandit, he will perform this pooja. Or the elder family member will do it with mantras and prayer. If performed in a temple, the priest will handle this part.
After completing this special offering to the god, the kheer will be taken in the silver bowl/ normal bowl. The first food of the baby boy is ready to be fed.
After the baby had his first serve of solid food, the other family members feed him more food. They bless him and shower him with gifts. In many cultures, the rice ceremony would end with Jeevika Parikaha.
This is a part of the rituals of Annaprasana for the baby boy. This ritual is believed to decide the interest of the baby and his possible future. But nowadays it is considered as a fun play that marks the end of the ceremony.
Many symbolic objects will be placed on a big plantain leaf or silver tray. Make the baby sit near this and encourage him to take something. It is believed that what the baby touches determines his area of interest in the future.
The family and friends used to cheer for the little one. The common objects that are placed for jeevika parikaha are:
Even though not a custom, today many parents plan to give some return gifts for the invitees of Annaprashan. Are you in search of return gift ideas of Annaprasana for a baby boy? Well, small baskets of sweets with a thank you card will serve the purpose!
As your baby boy is still very young, it is important to take some safety precautions while performing Annaprasana for baby boys.
When it comes to the ideal date to perform the ceremony, days in sukla pakzha (days after the new moon) of the month are usually selected. However, some other factors are also considered by pandits while selecting the ideal date for the Annaprashan.
You can select an appropriate day for Annaprashan for baby boy with the help of shub muhurth for Annaprasana 2021 listed below. You can also seek an opinion from a Pandit, as the exact muhurth will be suggested depending on gender and time, and date of birth of the baby.
However, this list will help you to roughly plan when to conduct Annaprasana for baby boys.
Shubh Muhurth For Annaprashan 2021
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