Gujarati Culture Blog

06/19/2017 Comments: 26 Posted by: Vaishali Patel In:

Shrimant: Gujarati Baby shower

Gujarati blessings and traditions begin with the conception of a child. The arrival of a new baby is auspicious and fortunate for everyone in the family and everyone rejoices in it.

The traditional baby shower in a Gujarati household is known as Shrimant ( literal meaning of the word is wealthy, for the baby shower it means the abundance & wealth we wish upon the baby and the family) or Khodo Bharavo ( Literal meaning is to fill the mother to be’s lap with wholeness & abundance)

Although this tradition is practiced differently in different families, the similarity and the spiritual significance remains the same, to welcome the newborn with an open heart and all the blessings in the world. along with the safety and safe recovery of the mother from childbirth.

Here are the traditions and methods followed for Shrimant-baby shower in our family:

People taking part in the ceremony are the mother to be, her youngest brother in-law-known as Devar and an older sister -in-law or a family member that has not had a miscarriage (who is whole and healthy). This is one of those rare ceremonies were a presence of the priest is not required. This is normally carried out by the older ladies in the family.

The momma to be is seated across from her sister in law participating in the ceremony. They exchange a whole coconut with water- Nadiyer and rice to symbolize prosperity, abundance and health. They exchange this for seven times. Then the brother-in-law gently puts kankoo – kumkum red powder dipped fingers across the Momma to be’s cheeks ( gentle slap:) to remind her that don’t forget about me now that you are having a baby.

The pregnant lady reciprocates by doing the same to the little boy and reminding him that now you will be uncle and you will have to help take care of the baby. This tradition came to be because in the old days everyone lived in an extended family where the younger brother-in-law got the motherly love from his sister-in-law.

The ceremony normally takes place towards the last trimester and one of the rituals is to tie a raksha or rakhdi ( a small thread or a gold bracelet for those more affluent) to ward off evil eyes and keep the mama to be healthy & safe.

Of course, as in all Gujarati traditions that include Puja, there is a divo  – small lamp or candle, kankoo  – red powder, chokha  – rice and haldi  – turmeric, fresh flowers and agarbati  – incense to purify the environment.
And of course yummy delicious Gujarati food to go with it.

Have you been to a Gujarati baby shower? Or you had a Shrimant of your own? What part did you like the most? Please share your experience with us, we would love to hear from you.

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26 thoughts on “Gujarati Baby shower – Shrimant”

  1. Nimesha says:

    Interesting read. Why is this ritual carried out for the first born not for 2nd 3rd any other babies you may later go on to have. Why went women who have had a miscarriage not allowed to take part in the ceremony?

    1. Traditionally this was done for the first born as to mark the beginning of many healthy children to follow and for some reason it became such a theatric and expensive event so that many families decided to only do this for the first child. You will not believe this but the orthodox belief was that a woman who has had a miscarriage is not “whole” in my humble opinion that is not true at all. I believe a shrimant is an intimate event for the parents to be and they can choose to include who ever they wish to in the ceremonial part and do it for every single child if they wish to.

  2. Kents says:

    Wow, Gujarati culture sure is rich in beauty and tradition!

    1. It sure is! Thank you for your interest in wanting to learn about this rich culture.

  3. Saira says:

    Does the baby shower have to happen on a specific day? I’m not Gujarati but my in-laws are and they usually have their baby showers on a Sunday. This is pretty inconvenient for my family as everyone would have to come in from out of town.

    1. Many Gujarati families like to consult an astrological calender known as Panchang and choose an auspicious day to host these blessings so it is definitely a personal preference.

  4. Nayna says:

    What is the meaning behind the bracelet that comes from the in-laws to the mother to be?

    1. Thank you for this Nayana. My understanding is that the bracelet from the in laws is the “Rakhadi” and the purpose of this is to ward of evil spirits that may affect the baby and Momma to be.

  5. Priyanka Chavan says:

    whose side host this function ? Husband’s or wife’s ?

    1. Thank you Priyanka for your interest in finding more about this subject. It is traditionally hosted by the husband’s family however they are not always available so it can be hosted by the family all together.

  6. Hardip Desai says:

    I wanted to know why Devar slaps to his siater-in-law & so to by searching for it your article help me about it. Thank you & please continue your good work. The Devar doing the job to slap(jentaly) his sister-in-law named as to be ‘Buhatiyo’ (dont know other meaning). May be this word is used in Kathiyawadi Gujarati Family.

    1. Thank you for taking the time out to comment. I have not heard of “Buhatiyo” but then again Gujarati in different parts of Gujarat have unique words for certain things. Kathiyavadi Gujarati is super sweet and I was in Bhavnagar in my very young days so had a little bit of exposer to this.

  7. Darshan Jain says:

    Can you explain what is “jiyanu”? I heard the ritual is celebrated after the birth of the baby.

    1. This is after the first baby is born. Traditionally the girl delivered her baby at her parents’ homes as the Momma can also be nurtured in her ‘Piyar’. She normally stayed there with the baby for 3-4 months. When she is ready and heads home to her husband’s house. Her parents shower her with gifts for her and the new baby and this is known as ‘Jiyanu’.

  8. Amy says:

    Hi Vaishali,

    Thanks for sharing this. I am a Gujarati & my in laws are Telugu. I am nowhere close to expecting a baby but just curious to know more. My in laws prefer to perform an expensive affair out of everything and I like things simple & intimate and so do my parents. Is it ok for the mum to be’s parents to host the event and not the in laws?
    I would also like to know that is there a minimum head count needed for this event. I would like to have only those who are really close to me and are genuinely there to bless me and not having making it crowded just for the heck of it.

    1. Hi Amy, I am with you on this one. There is no specific requirement of how many folks are needed to be there. However, this is a joyous occasion for the grandparents to be as well so it would be great if there is a compromise. I hope this helps.

  9. dr. N D Shilu says:

    Good procedural explanation.

  10. dr. N D Shilu says:

    Nice explanation.

  11. Rohan says:

    I have heard that times between Dec.13 – Jan.14 are considered inauspicious and Gujarati people usually don’t keep events during this time. Is it okay to arrange a baby shower before Jan. 14 (Dhanarak maas)? Please spread some light on this topic…
    Thank You

    1. Thank you for reaching out to us, this is a question, unfortunately, I can not answer. This is a religious and a belief preference. I am aware of this, that many people don’t perform happy rituals before Uttrarayan. You may reach out to a priest to explain this to you in more detail. My personal belief is all days are happy and auspicious as long as our hearts are clean and intentions are pure.

  12. Monika says:

    I hank you for this information
    My mother in law has been advised that she is not allowed to carry out the khoro ceremony and it has to be done by the elder ladies why can’t my mother in law do the ceremony herself?
    Also she’s said that my mum is not allowed to be present when the ceremony happens ?? Or that she has to miss the first part of the ceremony???! I’m not happy about this at all, please can you explain the reasoning behind this?
    Finally apparantly I’m not allowed to wear any pins in my sari? Please expand.
    Thank you

    1. Thank you for reaching out to us! Unfortunately, there are no set rules for ceremonies. Every family has their own traditions and guidelines they follow. I am not sure why certain people are not allowed or allowed to be present. Ask them and receive their answers gently and respectfully and in the end, you want the ceremony to be a joyful event for all involved so perhaps come to a compromise that works for everyone.

  13. Victoria says:

    Hi, my husband and I are expecting our first child and we are so excited. I am Irish and my Husband is from an Indian background which at times can make life complicated, the baby shower being one thing. His family live in England, mine in Ireland and we live I Australia. His mum is very keen to hold the baby shower but it is impossible with distance and I am not about to fly to the UK in my third trimester. Has anyone come up with with a compromise? How can I honor the tradition while we are so far away. Thanks

    1. Hi Victoria, I can understand your predicament. Traditionally the baby showers are held by the husband’s family however in modern times you can follow the traditions and rituals where you are because in the end its all about the family, love and celebrations. It would be great if you can host it where you are and everyone comes to attend it and allowing them to have an important role in the ceremony may make them feel loved and valued. You can honor the tradition and follow the rituals where its convenient for you and perhaps if they can come attend it or be a part of it the best they can.