Hinduism is not only a religion or way to worship but it is lifestyle. All the beliefs in Hinduism are based on science. All practices definitely have some scientific significance.
Hinduism dates back more than 5000 years, and has very rich cultural & spiritual rituals, which are performed throughout one’s life.
One of the main ceremonies mentioned in the Law books or smritis of the Vedas is performed is the Mundan ceremony.
What is Mundan Ceremony?
Mundan Ceremony is a ritual where the new born receives his first haircut, leaving only a few strands, called the shikha or bodi, at the crown of the head. This is supposed to protect that part of the brain which helps memory.
Shikha is also supposed to denote the space where it is believed that the soul leaves the body at the time of death.
This is usually done in the first or third year after birth. An auspicious date is consulted with a priest, according the astrological aspects of the child.
How do you perform a Mundan ceremony?
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.
A new pair of scissors and a razor for the mundan to ensure that, it is clean.
The first few strands are usually cut by the father, and the rest done by a barber, while sacred mantras are recited by a priest.
These mantras, called “mundane sanskar mantra”, are thought to ward of any evil spirits & any negative influences from the child’s previous life. This is a purification process.
This will help in the Moksha or liberation process, which is one of the philosophies of Hinduism.
After Mundan Ceremony
After shaving the hair, the head is washed with holy water & an ayurvedic paste containing some turmeric & sandalwood applied in case of any cuts.
Every strand of the shaved hair is usually wrapped in cloth & offered to a sacred river like the Ganges.to protects the child from the evil eye.
The child is then given a warm bath to get rid of any strands or dust stuck to the body.
In some sects, this ritual is done with a huge celebration, as a celebration of a new-born, when whole extended families are invited, strengthening the family bond.
While in some, it’s done in a closed room, with just the immediate family, in order to protect the child from any negative influences.
What is the purpose of Mundan ceremony?
There was also a scientific reason behind this ritual.
The brain is the most important part of the body.
- After clearing the hair, it was thought that sunrays provided vitamin D, which is essential for the development of skull.
- The haircut stimulates the nerves of the brain and increases the blood flow that also helps proper brain development.
- The natural growth of hair on a baby’s head is uneven. Shaving off the hair from the baby’s head helps in proper and healthy growth of hair.
- Stimulates blood flow over the hair follicles that help fast the growth of the hair.
- The ceremony is usually done in the summer to keep the child’s head cool.
Ensure that your baby is well rested & fed before the mundan. It will be difficult to handle a baby who is cranky, hungry and upset. During the ceremony, try to keep your baby occupied with a toy or book when his hair is getting shaved.
This ritual is done by Chinese, Native Americans, Muslims, and some Sikhs too.
Can Mundan be done at home?
This is not pre-decided. Every family and caste has its own tradition to perform Mundan Ceremony. It can be performed at the bank of River, Temple or Home.
Can Mundan be done on Saturday?
No, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday are not considered auspicious for Mundan Ceremony. All other days of the week are considered good to perform this Ceremony (Sanskar).