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.