Traditions in India for a First Birthday

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Throughout the ages, a child’s first birthday has been a landmark representing strength in survival, entry into the family and promise for the future. In India, the celebration still holds traditional and symbolic significance.

1 Rituals

Depending on the auspices of the date, the Hindu rituals of Annaprasanam and Mundan may be performed on a child’s first birthday. The Annaprasanam is the giving of the first solid food. The Mundan is a shearing of the child’s hair very close to the scalp, sometimes leaving a small patch at the top of the head. The priest will bless the barber and scatter the hair in the river as an offering.

2 Significance

The ritual of the child’s first food signifies the development of health. The ritual of cutting hair signifies a cleansing and purification, a severance from past lives and negative actions or traits.

3 Food

Guests are served with a banquet and a birthday cake. The child is given specially prepared rice, mixed with ghee or honey.

4 Clothing

The child wears bright colors, while guests wear traditional saris.

5 Guests

Family and friends will attend, as well as a priest. If the Mundan will be performed, a barber will also attend.

Jordan Felker has been writing since 2005. Freelance editor, contributor to "Eloquence Magazine" in Seoul, South Korea, and winner of multiple fiction competitions, she holds a degree in creative writing and film studies from Metropolitan State College of Denver.