Updated: Aug 12
Shimant: 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 Shimant-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 tradition I don't agree with that the other woman participating in the Shimant vidhi has to be someone who has never had a miscarriage. 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.
HOW is it performed: The momma to be is seated across from her sister in law (or another female from her husband's family) participating in the ceremony. They exchange a whole coconut with water- Nadiyer and rice (Some families put other grains like Mung beans and sesame seeds as well) to symbolize prosperity, abundance and health. They exchange this for seven times. Exchange is made in to the pallu or a scarf tied around the pregnant women's waist and to be sure nothing drops on the floor. After each exchange the sister in law or whoever the other female participating in the ceremony is goes around the momma to be. This has to be performed seven time.
Then the brother-in-law (Devar) 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. This raksha is tied by the baby's foi (Dad's sister traditionally)
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. During the ceremony you can play Ganesh Mantra in the back or the Gayatri Mantra and when the ceremony is over then the momma to be stands up and takes blessings from the older women in the family.
And what would a Desi function be without some yummy, delicious, Gujarati food to go with it.
Have you been to a Gujarati baby shower? Or have you had a Shimant of your own? What part did you like the most? Please share your experience with us in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.
If you are just newly pregnant, it may be too soon to think about teaching your baby to speak Gujarati, so this is just to keep in mind for slightly ahead in the future. On Amazon, I sell a Gujarati Memory Game (and a Hindi version too!) that is a really fun way to play with your youngest one and secretly teach them Gujarati words.
Once your child gets to be about 5 years old, they can join our live Gujarati language and culture classes hosted on Zoom. Beginner classes are just an easy 30-minutes. Check them out here. If you need a brush up on your own Gujarati, we have live Adult classes as well or you can choose to do self-paced learning with our online Essentials Gujarati Course here.
Any which way, I'm grateful that you are with me in preserving our beautiful culture.
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