Did you know about Age-old Rajasthani Birth Customs?

Rajasthan is a state filled with culture, colors, and traditions. Needless to say, the birth of a child is an event that is celebrated exhilaratingly. In like manner, the age-old Rajasthani birth customs are inspired by the Vedas. Several cantos of the Hindu scriptures prescribe specific rites and ceremonies down to the minutest details. While they have been adopted from the Vedas, the customs have been adapted to the changing social dynamics throughout the decades. 


A doula is often present in rural Rajasthani homes, she is here called the dai. She assists the mother in the process of giving birth. The more pain the mother is in, the more she massages the legs and abdomen of the mother. This reduces birthing pain and the delivery is smoother. The dai then bathes the mother and later herself. Moreover, her work does not end there. She visits the home for the next few days too, aiding the mother and making the baby drink a herbal concoction (gadhlo) till the mother produces breast milk. 

The Customs Presented Chronologically:

Image Credit Maharajas Express


The first custom, Garbhadharan, is when the wife conceives for the first time. Moreover, this is incredibly auspicious for the family and brings good luck ahead. Close family and friends of the wife visit her as a celebration. They sing and dance together; generally, a dholak player is also present at such gatherings. The songs are not frivolous- they often describe the physiological and mental changes the wife will go through as a consequence of her pregnancy. 


When the wife enters the eighth month of her conception, the period is known as Athmaasa. The ceremony ensures the safety of the child in the remaining period of pregnancy. Just like in Garbhadharan, near and dear ones of the wife visit. The atmosphere, however, is comparatively more solemn during this ceremony. People pray to the deity for the safe delivery of the child. The family collectively visits the temple of their God to seek blessings. The expecting wife is overall treated lavishly in the community. 


The Jatkarama, or birth, the ceremony is next. The baby, regardless of the sex, is welcomed home with a taste of honey mixed with ghee. In some parts of Rajasthan, a male child is still preferred over a female child. The birth of a boy is met with several gunshots in the air or even banging copper plates as an announcement of the boy’s birth. During the reign of the royal families in the state, the birth of a boy was even more momentous.

The Maharajas would celebrate by serving feasts to the entire population of their Kingdom. A girl’s birth is rather a hush-hush event. On the day of the child’s birth, a priest comes home to note the child’s date and time of birth and present their horoscope. In a few days, members of the community visit the family to give love to the newborn and sweets to the family. 

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On the twelfth day of the child’s birth, the Namkaran ceremony is performed. The priest visits again and gives blessings to the child. After performing some rituals, he chooses an alphabet from which the child’s name should start. This is believed to be auspicious for the child, bring them good luck, and keep them from harm. A name is thus given to the child. The ceremony comes to an end with distributing food to the neighborhood and singing folk songs of good wishes to the child. 

Age-old Rajasthani birth customs
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Panghat Poojan

A few more days after the birth of the Namkaran ceremony, the Panghat Poojan takes place. Here, the women of the family and community take the mother of the child to a nearby body of water. On their way to worship the water, they sing choruses in praise of goddesses. This ritual is an example of a purely Rajasthani custom, which has formed over time – it is not found in any Vedic texts. Since water became scarce in this arid state, it has now become an object of worship. 


Annapraashan takes place after the child is six months of age. At six months, the child has a digestive system that can take semi-solid food. This is a fairly intimate ceremony. The child is fed his first meal of cooked rice with yogurt, ghee, or honey. In some households, kheer, rice cooked with milk and sugar, is also fed to the child. Some families also perform yagnas on this day and offer gratitude to their God for keeping their child healthy. 

Age-old Rajasthani birth customs
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Age-old Rajasthani birth customs are rooted in the scientific wisdom of their scriptures and unite families from all social classes.

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