Updated: May 3
On the sixth day after the birth of a baby, this ritual known as Chhathi pooja is performed.
As with other Gujarati traditions associated with the birth of a child, this one is also very interesting. It is performed on the sixth day after a baby’s birth – chhathi na lekh.
According to folklore, there was a belief that on the 6th day after the birth of the child, Vidhaata (Goddess of Destiny) would quietly enter the house around midnight to pen the destiny of the newborn. Traditionally, the mother of the newborn lights a lamp (diya). This lamp along with a red pen and paper are placed on a wooden plank for Vidhaata to write the future of the newborn.
On the eve of the sixth day after the birth, the baby is dressed in brand new clothes. The mother holds the baby by the Gadi/Mandir- altar where the photos or statues of Gods and Goddess are placed. One lights a diya- lamp with a wick soaked in ghee. There are blank pieces of paper and red pen placed on a baajhat- wooden plan for the God of destiny(Vidhaata) to write the future of the newborn. There are also clean white handkerchiefs and extra pens placed there so that after they have been blessed they can be used in future auspicious occasions. Some families also use Kankoo— Red kumkum powder and soak it with water to catch the baby’s foot prints on a blank paper or cloth. This is to guide Vidhaata on where the baby is. Later it can be used as a keepsake.
Some may see this as a superstition. Traditions and rituals in all cultures are a matter of faith and they are there as guidance. It is not to say that if you don’t perform this, your baby will not have a good future. Chhhati pooja is yet another reason to celebrate the arrival of this new soul into this world.