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“Namakaranam” is a Hindu naming ceremony, also known as the naming ceremony for a newborn baby. It is a joyful and significant event in Hindu families, where the baby is given its first official name. This ceremony usually takes place a few weeks after the baby’s birth, often on the 11th, 21st, or 28th day after birth, but the timing can vary based on family traditions and cultural practices.

Here’s an overview of how a typical Namakaranam ceremony might unfold:

  1. Purification: The place where the ceremony will be held is cleaned and purified. The parents and the baby also take a ritual bath before the ceremony.
  2. Invocation of Deities: The ceremony begins with the parents and family members invoking the blessings of deities and ancestors through prayers and rituals.
  3. Name Selection: The parents typically choose a name for the baby based on astrological considerations, family traditions, or personal preferences. The chosen name is often revealed during the ceremony.
  4. Blessings: The baby is often placed in the arms of a respected elder, like grandparents or a priest, who blesses the baby with prayers and well-wishes.
  5. Announcement of the Name: The chosen name is announced to the attendees, symbolizing the official naming of the baby.
  6. Application of Turmeric Paste: As a symbol of purity and protection, a paste made of turmeric and sandalwood is applied on the baby’s forehead.
  7. Feeding: The baby is often fed a sweet concoction, like honey or a mixture of honey and ghee, as a representation of the sweet experiences that lie ahead in life.
  8. Gifts and Blessings: Family members and guests offer gifts, blessings, and good wishes to the baby and the parents.
  9. Feast: A celebratory feast or meal is often arranged for friends and family members after the ceremony.

Namakaranam is not only a naming ceremony but also an occasion for family and friends to come together and celebrate the birth of the child. It is a moment of happiness and the beginning of the child’s journey in the world. Different regions and communities within Hinduism may have variations in the customs and rituals associated with Namakaranam, but the essence of the ceremony remains consistent: welcoming the new addition to the family and giving them an identity through their name.