Namakaran, or naming of the child, is the first real ceremony held for the newborn child. It is usually held on the twelfth day of the child’s birth, though, according to one convention, it can be held on any day after the tenth day, and before the first birthday.
In some parts , it is held on the twelfth day , but it can be done any time before baby’s first birthday. In certain parts of India, it is done in 3rd or 5th or 7th or 9th month for girls and in 6th or 8th month for boys.
The first ten days after birth are considered an ‘impure’ time for the mother and child. On the twelfth day, the mother and child are given a ritual bath. The mother swathes the baby in a piece of new cloth, applies kajal to its eyes, and makes a little beauty mark on the cheek.
The baby is then placed in the father’s lap to be blessed. The priest offers prayers to all the gods and to Agni, the god of fire and the purifying factor, the elements, and the spirits of the forefathers, and entreats them to bless and protect the child. He also places the sheet on which the child’s horoscope is written, in front of the image of the deity, for its blessings.
Then, the father leans towards the baby’s right ear, and whispers its chosen name. Usually, the father does not whisper directly into the child’s ear, but uses a betel leaf or its silver imprint, or a few leaves of kusa grass to direct the words to the child’s ear.
A priest is usually called to perform the religious rites or puja. This usually accompanies a hawan or homa. Baby is bathed and dressed in new clothes. Friends and relatives are invited to bless the new baby. The priest would perform puja and consult patri to suggest a letter which is good for baby. This is based on hindu astrology. Baby’s horoscope is also drawn on this day. If parents have decided on a name, it is whispered in baby’s ear by an elder of the family.