Naming Ceremony: Namkaran Baby Ritual

The Naming Ceremony, also known as Namkaran in Hindi, is the traditional ritual of giving a name to the baby. It is an important Hindu Sanskar that celebrates the rights of passage of the different stages in a person’s life.

It is also mentioned in various sacred texts and Vedic traditional that the ritual of Namkaran is derived from the Sanskrit word Nam, which means name and Karan, which means create.

It is a formal ceremony that is performed for selecting a new name for the just born baby, using the traditional methods, & following some astrological rules for naming.

What is the History and Origin of the Naming Ceremony?

The naming ceremony has been a part of the Indian or Hindu traditional culture from the past many centuries. It is an event where a person or persons are officially given a name from which they would be known or called during their lifetime.

History and Origin
History and Origin

The methods, which are used for performing this particular ceremony are different in different countries.

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Some countries like India do this process by organizing Pooja in front of the god while on the other hand, the western countries do the same by baptizing or using other traditional rituals.

Different cultures and traditions are followed in different religions. The exact date of the year when the ceremony was started is not present or known.

But it can be understood easily that this particular process is very old as even the Gods of Hindu mythology have names. Whenever a baby is born, the timing at which the name is assigned to the baby is different in different religions.

Some of them assign the name some days after the birth while some do not assign the same for several months or even years.

How Can You Select the Right Baby Name?

For selecting the name of the newborn baby, the Hindu families have always relied on the concepts of Vedic astrology that are being used from the past centuries.

Selecting the Right Baby Name
Selecting the Right Baby Name

The first letter of the name of the child is always considered to be auspicious and various principles which are generalized over the past many centuries have been used to determine what the initial letter of a child’s name should be.

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These five principles are:

1.Masanam, which means according to the child’s month of birth.

2.Devatanama, which means after the name of the family deity.

3.Rashinama, which means according to the zodiac sign of the child.

4.Janam Nakshatram, which means according to the lunar asterism and looking at the birth star of the child.

5. Samsarikanama, which means the world name which comes from expectation of all the above-given principles.

It is traditionally believed that the name of the boy should always have the letters in even numbers in his name (2,4,6,8), while the name of the girl should always consist of the letters in odd numbers (3,5,7,9).

But it is said that 11 is considered to be the best and most auspicious length for both the genders.

It is believed by the people of Hindu religion that if the name of the child is selected based on his or her Nakshatra, or the birth star which is calculated with the help of Vedic astrologer during the Namkaran or naming ceremony, then it is best name.

If the family astrologer is not present, then there are various online astrology sites from which Nakshatra of the child can be ascertained with the help of the date of birth of the child, the time of birth, and also the place of birth.

If the parents can know the birth star of the child, then the following table can be used for arriving at the first letter of the name of your baby girl.

It is also recommended by the Vedic astrologers.

 Sr No.Baby’s Birth Star (Nakshatra)First Letter of Baby’s Name
1Aswini (अश्विनी)Chu (चू) , Che (चे), Cho (चो), La (ला)
2Bharani (भरणी)Lee (ली), Lu (लू), Le (ले), Lo (लो)
3Kritika (कृतिका)A (आ), E (ई), U (उ), Ea (ऐ)
4Rohini (रोहिणी)O (ओ), Va (वा), Vi (वी), Vu (वू)
5Mrigashira (मृगशिरा)We (वे), Wo (वो), Ka (का), Ki (की)
6Aardhra (आर्द्र)Ku (कू), Gha (घ), Ing (ङ), Jha (झ)
7Punarvasu (पुनर्वसु)Ke (के), Ko (को), Ha (हा), Hi (ही)
8Pushyami (पुष्य )Hu (हू), He (हे), Ho (हो), Da (डा)
9Ashlesha (अश्लेशा )De (डी), Du (डू), De (डे), Do (डो)
10Magha/Makha (मघा )Ma (मा), Me (मी), Mu (मू), Me (मे)
11Poorva Phalguni (पूर्व फाल्गुनी)Mo (मो), Ta (टा), Ti (टी), Tu (टू)
12Uttaraphalguni (उत्तरा फाल्गुनी)Te (टे), To (टो), Pa (पा), Pe (पी)
13Hasta (हस्त )Pu (पू), Sha (ष), Na (ण), Teha (ठ)
14Chitra (चित्रा )Pe (पे), Po (पो), Ra (रा), Re (री)
15Swati (स्वाति )Ru (रू), Re (रे), Ro (रो), Taa (ता)
16Visakha (विशाखा )Tee (ती), Tue (तू), Teaa (ते), Too (तो)
17Anuradha (अनुराधा )Na (ना), Ne (नी), Nu (नू), Ne (ने)
18Jyeshtha (ज्येष्ठ )No (नो), Ya (या) Yi (यी), Uu (यू)
19Moola (मूल )Ye (ये), Yo (यो), Ba (भा), Be (भी)
20Poorvashaada (पूर्वाषाढ़ा )Bu (भू), Dha (धा), Ea (फा) Eaa (ढा)
21Uttarashaada (उत्तराषाढ़ा )Be (भे), Bo (भो), Ja (जा), Ji (जी)
22Shravan (श्रवण )Ju (खी), Je (खू), Jo (खे), Sha (खो)
23Dhanishta (धनिष्ठा )Ga (गा), Gi (गी), Gu (गू), Ge (गे)
24Shatabhisha (शतभिषा )Go (गो), Sa (सा), Si (सी), Su (सू)
25Poorvabhadra (पूर्वभाद्र )Se (से), So (सो), Da (दा), Di (दी)
26Uttarabhadra (उत्तरभाद्र )Du (दू), Tha (थ), Jha (झ), Jna (ञ)
27Revati (रेवती )De (दे), Do (दो), Cha (चा), Chi (ची)
Naming a Baby According to Birth Star (Nakshatra)

When is the Naming Ceremony held?

The naming ceremony or Namkaran is conducted after the Jatakarma Sanskar, which is a rite of passage celebrating the birth of the child.

When is the Naming Ceremony held
When is the Naming Ritual held?

Talking about the present scenario, the population is increasing day by day, and with more and more births taking place in the hospital.

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This particular ritual has become a part of the Namkaran ceremony and both these ceremonies are performed together within 2-3 weeks of the birth of the child.

It should always be kept in the mind that the tradition of naming ceremony should be held 11 days after the birth of the baby, just before Shrutika or Shuddhikaran era.

That is when the mother of the child and the child himself or herself are confined to the intensive postnatal care.

But it is not mandatory to do the same on the eleventh day and can be altered according to the will of the parents or based on the predictions made by a local priest or astrologer’s advice and can also be done on the first birthday of the baby.

What is the Significance of the Naming Ceremony?

The naming ceremony or Namkaran is done for celebrating the birth of the child, whether male or female.

Significance of Naming Ceremony
Significance of Naming Ceremony?

It is considered to be a happy ritual where all the members of the family, along with friends and relatives come together for celebrating the birth of the newborn baby.

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It is also for celebrating the passage of the phase which was full of tension during the pre-childbirth.

Namkaran is also so known by the name of Palanarohan, which is derived from Sanskrit word Palna, which means cradle and around, which means on board.

This means that one is putting a child into the cradle.

Traditions in Naming Ceremony

Various practices are followed in the traditional Hindu religion for naming a child.

Traditions in Naming Ceremony
Traditions in Naming Ceremony

The father and mother of the child start the process of the Namkaran festival with prayers, mantra chanting, and Pranayama in the presence of the family members and the family priest.

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If the father is not present, then the grandfather or the uncle of the child has the right to perform the ritual.

The priest performs the ritual of naming the child by praying to the God of fire, who is known as Agni, the elements, and also the spirit of the ancestors.

In this tradition, the grains of rice are usually spread on a plate or Thali which is made up of bronze and the father of the baby writes the Chosen name in it using a stick which is made up of gold while chanting the name of God.

Then the father whispers the name of the child into the right ear of the child and repeats it 4 times along with the prayer or Mantra.

All the other people who are present there repeat a few religious words after the priest of the family for formally accepting the name.

This process is also followed by taking the blessings of the elder people along with gifts and then finally is ended with a feast with friends and family.

Usually, the Astrologer of the family presents the newborn child with his or her horoscope at the ceremony.

Different Religions and Cultures

The naming ceremony is celebrated and performed differently in different religions and cultures all around the world.

In some parts of the world, it is known as infant baptism while in some countries it is referred to as child dedication. In India, it is done by the name of Namkaran.

1. Naming Ceremony in Christians

In the religion of Christianity, the ceremony of naming the child is usually done through the process of baptism.

Naming Ceremony in Christians
Naming Ritual in Christians

In this religion, the infants are usually named on the 8th day of life in a very special ceremony, which is done either in their home or Church.

The people gather together and enjoy the local traditions and the instructions which are given by the priest or father of the church.

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2. Naming Ceremony in Judaism

In the Jewish tradition, the naming ceremony of the baby boy is usually done on the 8th day of his birth while the girls are named within the first two weeks of their birth.

Naming Ceremony in Judaism
Naming ritual in Judaism

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3. Naming Ceremony in Islam

In the Islamic religion, the newborn baby is named on the seventh day by the father and the mother, who will decide what the child should be called.

Naming Ceremony in Islam
Naming ritual in Islam

They will mutually com on a name which is the appropriate name for the child and has a positive meaning. A sheep is sacrificed and the meat is distributed on the seventh day, which is known as an Aqiqah.

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The naming ceremony is done on different days and dates in different religions all around the world, but the purpose of doing the same is common in every religion, which is to choose the name of the baby which has a positive meaning.

The name of the baby boy or girl is either decided by the parents or the priest or father of the church or temple using the traditional methods of Vedic astrology and numerology.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

On what basis are the names of the new-born child decided in the Hindu tradition?

In the Hindu tradition, the name of the new-born child is decided based on the zodiac sign, birth star, and other numerology factors. The first letter of the name is decided and then the name of the child is finalized.

What are some other names of the Naming ceremony?

The naming ceremony is called Namkaran in Hindu culture, Baptism, or child dedication in Christianity and Aqiqah in Islam. But in the majority of the countries, it is commonly known by the name of the naming ceremony.

What is the dress code for the Namkaran ceremony in India?

As such there is no fixed dress code for attending the Namkaran ceremony in India. But, talking about the present scenario, people like to wear traditional and ethnic clothes like kurta-pajama, saree, lehenga-choli, sherwani, etc. on this auspicious occasion.