The mundan or head-shaving ceremony for children has been a part of the Indian culture for many years. It is one of the traditional rituals followed in Hindu culture and has a lot of hidden references and significance attached to its existence. The mundan ceremony is often regarded as a very important part of a child’s growing years, and hence, it is given a lot of thought and effort and is done with the utmost care.
What Is Mundan Ceremony For Babies And Kids?
The baby mundan ceremony or “mundan sanskar” is a popular traditional ritual in India that is carried out with auspicious beliefs. The Hindu mundan ceremony is a ritual where a child’s hair is completely shaved off and given as an offering to the Gods.
Indian Cultural Beliefs Behind Baby Mundan Ceremony:
In the Hindu culture, it is strongly believed that shaving a child’s first full head of hair purifies the child and rids him/her of any evil eye or evil presence.
There are a number of other beliefs behind this practice too. Read on to know more.
- It helps in keeping the child’s body and head cool, especially during summer.
- It purifies the soul and body of the child.
- When children are teething, they tend to suffer from headaches. The shaving ritual is believed to reduce this pain.
- It is believed that hair growth improves after tonsuring leading to healthier hair.
- It blesses the child with long life and good health.
- It gets rid of any past life karma or negativity.
When Is Mundan/Head Tonsure Done?
For the mundan ceremony, the child’s age usually varies between 1-3 years of age (it is mostly done when the child is 7, 9 or 11 months old), but some people prefer to do it at a later age as well. For this ceremony, the child has to have the first growth of hair.
Mundan Ceremony Guarantees Better Hair Growth – Myth Or Fact?
That fact that shaving the first hair guarantees better growth has a good amount of scientific reasoning behind it. Hair growth, in general, is quite scattered in young children, because they are still at the initial stages of development, and the process of absorbing necessary nutrients for their growth is still picking up pace.
When a baby’s hair grows for the first time, it is not very strong. The hair follicles are also scattered. When the weak hair is shaved off, there is room for new hair that has stronger hair follicles to grow out of the roots and the hair growth pattern is no longer scattered or messy. Therefore, the baby’s hair growth after mundan is certainly better, denser and stronger too.
The Mundan Sanskar Vidhi Or Mundan Ritual
- A child’s mundan is always done at an auspicious date and time that depends on the baby’s date of birth. The day is also known as the “mundan muhurat“, which is set by a priest keeping a number of astrological and mythological factors in mind.
- The priest sets up a havan or pooja on the set date and time. The mother is seated in front of the holy pyre with the child in her lap. While some families prefer to celebrate the ceremony at home, others prefer to go to a temple or shrine to do it.
- The priest chants sacred hymns and shaves off a part of the child’s hair. The sacred hymn is also called “mundan sanskar mantra“. These mantras are specifically written for this particular ritual.
- The rest of the hair is shaved off by a barber with utmost care.
- The child’s head is then washed with holy water given by the priest, which is also called “Gangaajal“. The water is believed to help in soothing and healing the head.
- Finally, the shaved off hair is offered to the Gods or is given away by other means, whichever is suggested by the priest.
Tips And Precautions For A Safe Mundan
This ceremony is a risky one and has to be done with certain precautions in mind. Here are a few important things you must take care of before your child’s mundan ceremony.
- The child must be well-fed and rested. This is because children are usually cranky or restless and even the slightest wrong move could cause them injury.
- The barber must be a professional one who has had past experience working with children. Also, his equipment must be clean and sterilised as you don’t want your child to catch any infections.
- Giving the child a nice, warm bath after the ceremony is a good idea. Many times, tiny strands or pieces of hair might get stuck on the skin or be left on the head. If they are not removed, they might enter the child’s eyes, nose and mouth, or cause rashes on the skin. Also, a bath will wash off any dirt that might have settled on the head, especially if the ceremony was done outdoors.
- Since the baby’s head comes in contact with a blade or metal for the first time, he/she might have an allergic reaction. Babies have delicate skin, so it’s better to apply an antiseptic or a home-made ayurvedic paste to help the skin heal faster and to avoid rashes. Most people apply a soothing turmeric or sandalwood paste on the scalp of the child after the mundan ceremony.
The mundan ceremony has a lot of value and meaning attached to it, which is why many families even today continue to make it a part of their traditions. Apart from the spiritual reasons, this practice does have its own benefits and advantages for the child. Just ensure that you follow all the necessary steps and precautions to make the mundan ceremony a safe and memorable occasion for the family.