There are many traditions and rituals that are unique to a Gujarati family. It begins with birth. There are many performed upon arrival of a new born baby. One of them is the baby’s first hair cut known as Baabri. In other Indian cultures it is known as Mundan. This is a rite of passage for this new soul arriving in this world. There are many beliefs behind why it is done.
- Hair grows back nice and thick
- Helps keep the baby’s head cool
- It is to get rid of the past life’s negative connections
- Protects from evil eye
- Easy to take care of the baby
In Gujarati families, the ritual is performed to a baby 6 months to 2 years old, depending on the hair growth. In some families it is limited to the boys, however many perform this for boys and girls. Some families invite a priest and some make it a small intimate affair.
Baby’s foi (Father’s sister-paternal aunt) catches the hair as it is shaven and in turn blesses the baby.
When a priest is called they may perform a havan (fire ritual) while chanting sanskrit mantras. Mother or father sits with the child in their lap. The priest shaves off a part of the child’s hair. The parents or the barber finishes the hair cut after that.
The shaven head is washed with holy water (Gangajal). Then a paste of turmeric and sandalwood is applied. It is believed that this mixture cools the head and speeds up the healing of any nicks and cuts. Some cultures leave a small section on the hair as shikha or choti.
If you ever wondered why Indian hair is so healthy and lucious, well this surely can contribute to that.