Hindu Naming Ceremony

Photo Credit: My son Syon who is 9 years old now… Awww they grow to fast!...What is in a name? My name Sunita was determine by my “Rashi”, and so were my boys.

According to Hindu traditions, the Namkaran ceremony is usually performed within a few weeks of the baby's birth. The eleventh or twelfth day after birth is considered the most favourable day for the ceremony. The first initial of the child’s name, which is considered to be auspicious is determine by reading the astrological signs at the time of birth. In the past, most names were either names of gods and goddesses or reflected important qualities, e.g. Shanti-meaning 'peace'. While many Hindus continue this tradition today, it is also becoming more popular in both the UK and urban India to invent a name or to use Western names.

The formal name of the ceremony is “Namkaran”, it is an important Vedic ritual. In Sanskrit ‘Nam’ means name, and ‘karan’ means to create. It is traditionally believed that a boy's name should have letters in even numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and girls should consist of odd-numbered letters, 3, 5, 7, 9 but 11 is considered the most auspicious length for both genders.

There are five general principles of determining what the initial letter of a child's name should be:

Janam Nakshatranam (by lunar chart, composed of the birth star of the child, the position of planets at the time and date of birth, and the moon sign)

Masanam (according to the child's month of birth)

Devatanama (after the family deity)

Rashinama (according to the child's Zodiac sign)

Samsarikanama (the worldly name), as an exception to all the above.

The priest will start the naming ceremony with the ritualistic offerings and prayers to the Gods, the elements and, the spirits of the ancestors. The parents of the new born, guided by the priest, start the ritual with prayers and chanting of mantras. In some cultures, the father of the child will write the chosen name in rice grains spread on a bronze plate using a piece of gold and whisper the child’s name into its right ear. The chosen name is then announced to everyone present at the ceremony. This is usually followed by the guests greeting the child using the name. Gifts and blessings are showered on the new born and his/her parents by everyone present. The family astrologer will also usually present the child’s horoscope at this ceremony.

It is in the belief that a baby who has a name with good positive phonation and vibes will be blessed with good fortune and prosperity.

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