Seemantham or Baby Shower
More than festivity, seemantham or baby shower is a spiritual activity. The whole celebration is said to be KANKANA THARANA BOOMSUVANA SEEMANTHAM.
Now me being in my eighth month of pregnancy, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event of my seemantham.
This function, as said before, is a spiritual activity where the Purohit (prophet) chants mantras and Vedic slokas in such a way that the mantras reach the baby in the abdomen with due effect on its mental, physical and spiritual growth. And of course, the baby listens to all these mantras.
This function actually is of four stages.
1) KANKANA THARANAM
Kankana means bangles and tharanam means to give. Bangles are distributed to all ladies and women folk who have come to attend the function. Glass bangles are given much importance. Moreover the girl’s (for whom is the function celebrated) mother puts gold bangles, gold kaapu, silver kaapu etc. along with glass bangles as per their family custom and status. Hence, Kankana Tharanam is said as VALAI KAAPU in Tamil. The girl’s mother keeps all necessary things as seer varisai.
After valai kaapu, the girl is asked to come in her traditional saree (for Brahmins, it is the nine yards saree). Then the purohits chant mantras on a kalasam filled with water. Then this water is poured on the girl making her and the baby pure for seemantham. Then the seemantham begins when the girl comes in her new nine yards saree (madisar). Then a yellow colour knot is tied by the girl’s husband along with the bangles known as NONPU SHARADU (Fasting Knot). The Purohits continue chanting mantras. The role of a husband during seemantham is very important because he does all the rituals for the welfare of the baby.
After seemantham, children below 10 years are called and are asked to smash banyan root (Aala Mottu), lotus stem (Thamarai Mottu) and Asoka stem ( Arasa Mottu). The essence is poured into the girl’s nose which is done for an easy and safe delivery.
The girl’s sister – in – law ties flowers and does bridal decorations. All the elders gather around and sing songs in praise of the Lord. Finally the take harathi. (Kumkum water)
A good beginning always makes a good end. And the function finally comes to an end by giving fruits, coconut, blouse bit etc. to those who attended the function.
But where is the spiritual significance here? All that explained is the ritual.