In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, this ceremony is called the ‘Seemantham’ and is performed in combination with the ‘Valakappu’ or ‘Gaajulu’ . The Seemantham is hosted by the family of the father-to-be and is performed on an auspicious day based on the couple’s horoscopes. The ceremony itself is long and involves the chanting of mantras but the mood is light and joyous. The ceremony is followed by a sumptuous spread of traditional South Indian dishes.
The Valakappu or Gaajulu, on the other hand is hosted by the mother of the expectant woman where her arms will be adorned in bangles and bracelets put on by the lady-guests. The bangles must be born until labour begins as a form of protection for her. Just as in many Indian ceremonies, it is concluded with an aarati to ward off the evil eye.
In Maharashtra, the ‘Dohale Jevan’, which means satisfying the food cravings of the mother-to-be, is celebrated with music and dancing and treating the mother to a delectable spread of pedas and burfis. These foods are kept covered and are assigned a gender so to speak. The expectant mother is then asked to pick between the several choices as a way of guessing the gender of the baby. The ceremony as a whole is light-hearted and involves a fair amount of ribbing for the couple.
Among Bengalis, the ‘Swad’ is a rather elaborate occasion most well-known for the mouth-watering delicacies offered to the mother-to-be. The start of swad is marked by the blowing of the conch shell to announce to the mother that they are here to satisfy her every craving.
Indian Muslim families celebrate the ‘Satvasa’ which is very similar to the Godh Bharai except for the inclusion of mussaffar, a medicinal concoction of precious metals made by a unani hakim.
While the rituals and duration may vary from culture to culture, it can be a tiring experience for the expectant mother even if it is light-hearted and enjoyable. One way to ensure your comfort during the ceremony is to dress in light-weight clothes although the family might have other plans. Get plenty of rest before and after the ceremony. Most of all let your family members know how much you appreciate everything they are doing for you. There is no better way to earn the blessings of your elders!
Baby Shower of Celebrities
Aishwarya Rai Baby Shower – 18 October 2011
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Shilpa Shetty Baby Shower – April 2012