There are many customs and traditions which are prevalent since times immemorial. Specifically in the Hindu culture there is a long list of ceremonies which begin with birth right upto the last rites of the person thus covering this entire journey from being born to being dissolved in the panchmahabhutas. One such ceremony is the mundan ceremony which we will now discuss in more details and discuss all the aspects of the same.
What Is Mundan Ceremony?
The mundan ceremony is also called chudakarana and basically it represents the first time shaving of the baby hair after the child is born. It is said that one cannot do the shaving of baby hair in any random year but in either of the following years
Though it could be carried out in the latter years also but experts suggest that it is better done in the first year itself. There is also a logic behind it that if the first time shaving is done early, it would lead to better hair growth of the baby as he or she grows up.
Symbolically the carrying out of the mundan ceremony or the first time shaving of baby hair signifies that the undesirable traits of the last life are left behind and the child can begin a new life. It is a thousand years old tradition that is still being followed in almost all parts of the country. It is a big celebration time for the family. After the mundan ceremony a small tuft of hair is left on the head. It is called the shikha which protects the brain. The length of the sikha depends on the gotra and other traditions of the family. The mundan ceremony is common for both girls and boys.
If you happen to visit Hrishikesh in North India you will get to see a large number of young boys and girls who do their mundan ceremony on regular basis here. It is considered to be most auspicious for the mundan ceremony. People come from different corners of the country to do the mundan ceremony of their child here. The hair of the child is offered to the holy river Ganges. The child and the father of the child perform a yajna and aarti as they offer the hair of the child to the river.
Impact of the Mundan Ceremony
It is believed that carrying out the mundan ceremony takes care of the following aspects of the child
1. Your child gets a better future
2. The child gets a long life
3. The child is protected from the evil eye of others
4. The ceremony also cleans the body and the soul of the child
5. It is good as the head of the child can be cool in summers
6. A child who is teething requires mundan ceremony to feel more comfortable and relaxed.
7. It is also good for the better hair growth of the child
8. The mundan ceremony also improves the strength of the nerves in the brain of the child.
9. The child must let go of the past life and start a new life so the mundan ceremony is vital.
The Mahurat for Mundan
An important point about mundan ceremony is that you must find an auspicious day for the mundan ceremony and carrying out the first time shaving of the baby’s hair. The date of the mundan ceremony must be decided in consultation with a priest. The priest will have to perform a havan. The mother of the child must sit with the baby in her lap. She should be facing the holy fire in the havankunda.
The priest removes a little bit of the hair and put it into the fire. The remaining hair is removed by the barber who is invited for the mundan ceremony. The shaved head is then washed with Gangajal or the water of the Ganges which is considered to be a pious river.
After that turmeric and sandalwood paste is applied on the head of the child. This cools the head and heals the cuts on the head if any so basically it acts like an antiseptic or after shave which people apply after doing a shave. The hair is then thrown in a sacred river like the Ganga. It is not always possible that you drop the hair immediately in the river Ganga. You may store the hair and dispose them off when you get the time.
Few Points to Remember
You may or may not opt for the sikha. The wish is yours. However, we would recommend you let it be. Some points that you must keep in mind when you do the mundan ceremony are:
1. You must ensure that the child is fed before the ceremony so that he or she is not hungry and cranky.
2. Try to keep the baby engaged in a toy or a book as the hair is shaved so that the child does not realise what is happening.
3. The barber must used sterilised equipments for the mundan ceremony
4. You can also offer the barber a new pair of scissor and razor for the job
5. The child must be given a bath just after the mundan ceremony and check that all the hair in the body of the child is washed away.
6. Use lukewarm water to wash the head of the child
7. You can also offer curd on the head of the child for washing the same
8. The paste of turmeric and sandalwood can be very effective too after mundan ceremony
9. You can also apply antiseptic cream. You must check with the doctor about the antiseptic cream that you are planning to use. You must also check that the child do not put the cream in his or her mouth. It might be dangerous.
The checklist before the mundan ceremony:
1. Make list of the people you want to invite for the mundan ceremony and invite them. You can also print cards and distribute.
2. Depending on the budget of that you have you can make the arrangements.
3. Some people make the ceremony really grand and some keep it simple and sweet.
4. You must decide the menu and order for the food so that you don’t have to rush in the last moment.
5. Keep your cameras ready for the big day.
6. You can also ensure that you get proper clothes for the child as it is his or her special day.
7. The priest and the barber must be told some days in advance so that they are available on the day of the mundan ceremony
8. Please find a good time for the mundan ceremony as it is very important for the better future of the child.
Astrological Aspects of Mundan Ceremony
We will now touch some astrological aspects of the mundan ceremony or first time shaving of the baby hair. It is done under the influence of the following Nakshatra namely Ashwini, Ghanistha, Chitra, Jyestha, Hasta, Pushya , Mrigashira, Punarwasu, Swati, Shatavisha, or Revati. You must perform the mundan ceremony on Monday, Friday, Wednesday or Thursday. If the mother of the child is pregnant then the mundan ceremony must be postponed.
The day of birth of the child must not be selected for the mundan ceremony. For example the child was born on Monday then Monday must be avoided. You must keep these points in mind as you select the date for the mundan ceremony. Mundan is as vital as all other ceremonies in the life of a Hindu and it must be given the importance that it deserves.
We hope that you will be able to arrange for a better mundan ceremony with the tips and points that we have mentioned in this article. It is important that you do the mundan ceremony and ensure that all the steps are performed while first time shaving of your baby’s hair. We have tried to cover all the important points about the mundan ceremony in this one article.