Celebrating Mundan!May 29, 2019 [Sarina Jain]
My Indian heritage has always been SO important to me, especially keeping the traditions of the Indian culture alive in my family. I want both my daughters to grow up learning and respecting the culture and knowing where their family came from. Even though I grew up in America and my children will do the same, I want my girls to realize the importance of tradition, not letting it die and to instill these morals so that they can pass it down to their children.
If you have read my blog “fall madly in love with yourself” then you might remember that for a short period in my life I was embarrassed to be Indian. However, my family taught me to never be ashamed of where I came from. My parents moved to America in the ’70s and wanted my sister and me to grow up having opportunities here in America that they did not have back in India. At the same time, they wanted us to learn and appreciate our Indian heritage and so every summer my dad would send my sister and me to spend time with our family in India.
Because of my childhood, I am very proud of my Indian culture and bring it into my life daily with everyone I meet. After all, America is the melting pot of culture, so getting to share my culture with everyone I meet and everyone in my life has created a large community for me. I am so happy to get to share these traditions outside of my family. Besides sharing my love for dance and fitness, I love sharing new things I am doing whether it is about Indian food or the traditions I am passing down. The only way we grow is to keep learning new things and welcoming everything as it comes.
Because sharing these traditions is so important to me, I want to share with you about how we went about doing our 2nd daughters Mundan Or also known as Chudakarana. Mundan is an important ceremony that is widely practiced by Hindus and Muslims all over the world. It is where they shave a baby’s head, also considered a child’s first haircut. This tradition is done in the first couple of years of a child’s life from age 1 to 3.
This ceremony is believed to get rid of the baby’s past life negativity, give them a long life and good fortune and cleanse the body and soul!
We didn’t do anything fancy as some families may. We just went to our stylist and asked him to conduct the Mundan. He must have done 1000 of them by now. No joke! He is known in the community to do kids Mundans. He did my first daughter and now my 2nd. I wanted to get this done soon so she would have some hair for her first birthday, coming up on Oct.
More About the Mundan Ceremony
The Mundan ceremony is performed on a specific date and the priest typically picks the time and date based on the child’s birthday, typically on an odd-numbered date and month. Sometimes it can go as far into astrology as making sure that it is done when the suns position resides in Taurus.
The mother sits with the baby on her lap and the priest then will shave part of the baby’s hair while chanting sacred hymns and will then shaves the rest of the hair. After the baby’s head is shaved, the baby’s head is washed with holy water and a paste of turmeric and sandalwood is applied. The reason for applying this paste is to cool the baby’s head and heal any cuts.
From a religious perspective, as I said above, it is believed to be a purification from the child’s previous lives, in some religious scriptures a soul gets a human body after 84 lakh yonis. When the hair is shaved, it is believed to have purified the child of those past lives.
This has been a tradition in my family for a very long time as well as a large cultural tradition. It will be great to finally share this with my oldest daughter and to start incorporating our heritage into their lives.
I’d love to learn more about your family’s traditions. Share them with me in the comments!