Unlike the olden days when the baby was delivered at home, these days it takes place in a maternity hospital and the just born baby is placed in the cradle by the nurse within hours of delivery. However, this is not taken into account. Traditionally the cradle ceremony is celebrated on 11th day or 21st day from the day of delivery. Unlike traditional Hindu marriages and house-warming ceremony i.e grihapravesam, cradle ceremony need not be celebrated on an auspicious date / time (i.e sumuhurtham). However, it is ensured that the baby is not placed in the cradle when the time is inauspicious like 'durmuhurtam' / 'varjyam'.
Cradle ceremony need not compulsorily celebrated on the 11th or 21st day only but it can be celebrated according to convenience / on a convenient day till 3rd month. Traditionally, this is a social function when friends and relatives are invited to bless the newly born baby.
In the olden days, the cradle which was made of wood was decorated with colorful fresh flowers, silk saris and traditional toys. The function was celebrated either in a temple or mostly at home. With the modern lifestyle, the traditional functions are celebrated with a modern touch / look. The cradle that is mostly made of synthetic / fabric material and not hard wood. The cradle is decorated with balloons, fresh seasonal flowers and toys and of course soft cloth is also spread inside the cradle.
|New born baby Chi.Siddharth with his parents |
The new born baby and its' parents dress in traditional attire and are seated with the baby placed in it's mother's lap. The grandparents of the newly born baby or the elderly ladies in the circle apply traditional 'bindi' (with vermilion) on the forehead between the eyebrows and a black dot with kajal on one cheek. This is mandatory as it is believed that these protect the baby from evil eyes, if any by absorbing the ill effects (no scientific evidence on this). Parents, grandparents and close relatives bless the couple and the new born baby with 'akshintalu' i.e rice mixed with turmeric. They then gift them with clothes and silver items.
The baby is then gently placed in the cradle while the elderly ladies swing the cradle and sing classical lullaby songs. The other invitees then go in lines to bless the baby and place / give gifts to the baby. As this is a social get together, there is spread of fun and laughter in the air. Of course, there continues the photo / video session amidst the laughter which is followed by a sumptuous meal / lunch.
It's not mandatory to serve meals to the invitees but it's a matter of convenience / affordability. At the end of the function, the lady invitees are given 'tambulam' i.e betel leaves, betel nut, 1-2 seasonal fruits and 'pasupu' and 'kumkuma' (turmeric powder and vermilion which is optional).
And of course, the most awaited goodie bags filled with candies / toffees for the little guests who come along with their parents.
The little ones literally feel too excited to receive these bags from the hosts. Finally the invitees / guests disperse and take home enjoyable moments.