Annaprashan is the holy ceremony in Hinduism to mark the beginning of a baby’s food intake. In other words, when a baby starts having things other than mother’s milk, Annaprasana Sanskar ceremony is held. It is held by offering Kheer to the baby. Hence, this ceremony is popularly known as First Rice-Eating Ceremony in english. In this article, we will know everything about Annaprashan ceremony procedure in detail. Annaprasana for baby boy or baby girl is usually same everywhere.
हिन्दी में पढ़ने के लिए क्लिक करें – अन्नप्राशन संस्कार
Right Time For Annaprashan Sanskar
Usually, Annaprashan is performed when the baby is around 6 months old; as this is the time when baby gets some teeth.
Why Annaprasan Ceremony Is Important
Food plays a very significant role in our lives, as it nourishes our body and gives us strength. Since ages, we are dedicating our lives to be able to feed ourselves better. This ceremony respects the significance of food and the beginning of its consumption in a human’s life. The day a baby starts having food properly, it is believed that half of the success has been achieved. Hence, this ceremony should be performed in a holy ambience with all the step-by-step Annaprashan Vidhi (rituals), as it is one of the most important parts of your baby care.
Annaprashan Ceremony Preparation
Before doing the ceremony, it is important to set everything up, so that you don’t miss anything at the last moment. In other words, Pooja Samagri (holy items required for the rituals) should be prepared well in advance along with a good plan. So, here is your Pooja items list:
- Keep an appropriate bowl and spoon for Annaprashan. It will be great if you have a silver spoon for the baby to lick food.
- Also keep these things separately:
- Kheer made of rice or Rava (Suji)
- Holy Basil leaves (Tulsi)
- Holy Ganga water
Annaprasana items should be chosen very sincerely. After all, the baby has to be fed for the first time.
How To Make Rice Kheer
First thing for the rituals is Kheer, so many people will think about – how to make Kheer. Most people prefer rice Kheer (known as Chawal Ki Kheer in Hindi) on this occasion, so here is the rice kheer recipe. This Indian Kheer recipe is exclusive for your baby’s Annaprasana Ceremony.
- Milk and rice are the Kheer ingredients.
- Soak some rice grains in water at least an hour before cooking the Kheer. Quantity can be like 5 tablespoons rice per litre milk, or as per your taste.
- Add soaked rice grains to the boiling milk and cook them until the rice is boiled in milk and blended properly.You may lower the gas flame, so that Kheer doesn’t stick to the bottom of the utensil. Also, keep stirring it properly while cooking to avoid bottom sticking. As this Kheer is mainly cooked for Annaprashan Samskara, don’t add anything else. You may add more ingredients for other people later on keeping the baby’s portion separate.
Kheer In DIfferent Languages
Kheer is known as Payasam in many parts of South India. If you have to say Kheer in English, pudding can be right word. Bengalis know is as Payesh.
Now, we will talk about step-by-step rituals for this ceremony:
- Patra Pujan (worshipping the food utensil)
- Anna Sanskar (preparation of the first meal)
- Vishesh Ahuti (holy sacrifices to the fire)
- Kheer Prashan (feeding of the child)
Utensils (Patra) play a very important role in our lives. Every metal or any form of material used in making utensils has its own significance. It can be better understood by considering medicines. Some medicines give results when kept in a particular material. Same goes with food. Utensils should be considered as per the food and requirements of the body.
Silver spoon is considered best for feeding Kheer to the baby because silver metal is considered most positive for body. So, the baby should be fed with well-chosen utensils. Now, let’s know the step-by-step procedure:
- Make Swastika sign on all the utensils being used for the ritual.
- Offer Akshat (rice grains), flowers, etc to them.
- Now pray for the positivity to prevail in the ambiance and in the utensils, so that the child gets good nourishment. Recite this Mantra while praying:
ॐ हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण, सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम्।
तत्त्वं पूषन्नपावृणु, सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये॥
oṃ hiraṇmayena pātreṇa, satyasyāpihitaṃ mukham।
tattvaṃ pūṣannapāvṛṇu, satyadharmāya dṛṣṭaye॥
When the baby is shifted on solid food from liquid, the Kheer should be thin enough for the baby to lick. In other words, it should neither be liquid nor solid, somewhere in between. Baby should be fed according to his age, digestion power, and requirement.
Honey, Ghee, Holy Basil leaves, and river Ganga water should be added to the Kheer. All these ingredients are nourishing, therapeutic, and auspicious.
Quantity of the food should be taken as per the requirement only. You may begin with taking a little bit of it just for testing and then increase it. Too much quantity will either cause disrespect of the food for leaving it or cause indigestion due to over-eating.
Now, let’s know the procedure for preparing first meal of the baby. Make sure that the total quantity should be good enough to feed the baby after making 5 offerings in the fire.
- Put some Kheer in the holy vessel while reciting this Mantra:ॐ पयः पृथिव्यां पयऽओषधीषु पयो दिव्यन्तरिक्षे पयोधाः।
पयस्वतीः प्रदिशः सन्तु मह्यम्॥
(यजु. 18.36)oṃ payaḥ pṛthivyāṃ paya’oṣadhīṣu payo divyantarikṣe payodhāḥ।
payasvatīḥ pradiśaḥ santu mahyam॥
- Now add a little honey to it while reciting this Mantra:ॐ मधुवाता ऋतायते मधुक्षरन्ति सिन्धवः। माध्वीर्नः सन्त्वोषधीः। ॐ मधु नक्तमुतोषसो मधुमत्पार्थिवᳬं रजः। मधुद्यौरस्तु नः पिता। ॐ मधुमान्नो वनस्पतिः मधुमाँ२ऽअस्तु सूर्य्यः। माध्वीर्गावो भवन्तु नः।
(यजु. 13.27-29)oṃ madhuvātā ṛtāyate madhukṣaranti sindhavaḥ। mādhvīrnaḥ santvoṣadhīḥ। oṃ madhu naktamutoṣaso madhumatpārthivagṃ rajaḥ। madhudyaurastu naḥ pitā। oṃ madhumānno vanaspatiḥ madhumām̐2’astu sūryyaḥ। mādhvīrgāvo bhavantu naḥ।
(yaju. 13.27-29)Pray that this honey is generating good ethics in the baby while adding sweetness to the Kheer. It will make the behavior and voice of the baby impressive.
- Now add a little Ghee while reciting this Mantra:ॐ घृतं घृतपावानः पिबत वसां वसापावानः। पिबतान्तरिक्षस्य हविरसि स्वाहा। दिशः प्रदिशऽआदिशो विदिशऽ उद्दिशो दिग्भ्यः स्वाहा॥
(यजु. 6.19)oṃ ghṛtaṃ ghṛtapāvānaḥ pibata vasāṃ vasāpāvānaḥ। pibatāntarikṣasya havirasi svāhā। diśaḥ pradiśa’ādiśo vidiśa’ uddiśo digbhyaḥ svāhā॥
(yaju. 6.19)This Ghee will make the baby a soft, kind, and warm removing the roughness.
- Now add holy basil leaves reciting this Mantra:ॐ या ओषधीः पूर्वा जाता देवेभ्यस्त्रियुगं पुरा।
मनै नु बभ्रूणामहᳬं शतं धामानि सप्त च॥
(यजु. 12.75)oṃ yā oṣadhīḥ pūrvā jātā devebhyastriyugaṃ purā।
manai nu babhrūṇāmahagṃ śataṃ dhāmāni sapta ca॥
(yaju. 12.75)This is a medicine not only for body, but also for mind. It helps in giving the dedication toward almighty; as per the legends, Deity Tulsi is considered quite dedicated to the god.
- Now add some drops of Holy River Ganga water reciting this Mantra:ॐ पंच नद्यः सरस्वतीम् अपि यन्ति सस्रोतसः।
सरस्वती तु पंचधा सो देशेऽभवत्सरति॥
(यजु. 34.11)oṃ paṃca nadyaḥ sarasvatīm api yanti sasrotasaḥ।
sarasvatī tu paṃcadhā so deśe’bhavatsarati॥
(yaju. 34.11)Ganga water kills all the impurities in the food and makes it quite holy and pure. Just like the mixing of these holy ingredients, the baby will get a blend of holy ethics in his/her character.
- Now put this Kheer mix in front of the worship place to make it blessed by the god.
Now begin with Havan (fire sacrifice ritual) and complete the Gayatri Mantra offerings.
Once the Gayatri Mantra offerings are completed, we will offer the first meal of the child to the god in the fire. It should be done 5 times while chanting the below given Mantra:
ॐ देवीं वाचमजन्यन्त देवाः तां विश्वरूपाः पशवो वदन्ति।
सा नो मन्द्रेषपूर्जं दुहाना देनुर्वागस्मानुप दुष्टुतैतु स्वाहा।
इदं वाचे इदं न मम।
oṃ devīṃ vācamajanyanta devāḥ tāṃ viśvarūpāḥ paśavo vadanti।
sā no mandreṣapūrjaṃ duhānā denurvāgasmānupa duṣṭutaitu svāhā।
idaṃ vāce idaṃ na mama।
Anna Prashan/Kheer Prashan
After completing the special offerings (Vishesh Ahuti), the baby is fed while reciting this Mantra:
ॐ अन्नपतेऽन्नस्य नो देह्यनमीवस्य शुष्मिणः।
प्रप्रदातारं तारिषऽऊर्जं नो धेहि द्विपदे चतुष्पदे॥
oṃ annapate’nnasya no dehyanamīvasya śuṣmiṇaḥ।
prapradātāraṃ tāriṣa’ūrjaṃ no dhehi dvipade catuṣpade॥
Pray that this Kheer has become very auspicious after the rituals and providing good health, mental stability, great thinking abilities, and good character to the baby.
At the end, everyone should bless the baby. Family members should thank god for blessing the child and ceremony should end with holy food offering to everyone.
It is great to be invited in a celebration, but deciding a gift is usually a trouble. Every event has its significance, so the gift can be decided accordingly. As far as Annaprashan is concerned, most people prefer to gift something made of precious metal for the baby. It can be utensils made of silver or some little jewelry made of silver or cold. You may also think about gifting some utensils, as the baby has to start eating from this day. You may also gift some fancy dresses to the baby, as this gift goes with almost every event. We will leave the rest for your imagination.
Sometimes it gets difficult to decide how to wish for an event. So here we are helping you with some wishing ideas for Annaprashan. As this occasion is about the weaning of the baby, wish the parents for this ceremony turn out to be amazingly fruitful in the nourishment of the baby. Now you know the crux, so make your own words. After all, your own words will have feelings in them, as you will mean them too.
More About Annaprashan Ceremony
Usually, this event ends with a buffet for all the guests and family members, but it is totally upto the host. Main thing is Prasad (holy food offering) at the end.
Annaprashan ceremony is indeed important for all Hindus, but for some — it is a very big event. They celebrate it with great pomp and show. Not to miss that Annaprashan Card is also designed for the ceremony. Annaprasana cards with poems are very popular in Bengal. Some people invite through emails as well, and there are many digital ways for this purpose.
Decorations play a significant role in any event. So for Annaprashana, people just decorate their house with balloons, etc. There is no specific rule as such. Just keep it suitable for the ceremony and its rituals.
Annaprashan in English can be called as Weaning Ceremony or Rice Ceremony. In Kerala, people know it as Choroonu. Bengalis celebrate it as Mukhe Bhaat, Subho Annaprasan, or Onnoprashon. There are many names given to this event.
Hope this piece of information will help you celebrate a wonderful Annaprashan ceremony.