For each of our babies, we’ve held a special naming and blessing day. On this day, we’ve performed both an Indian cradle ceremony and a baby blessing as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It’s always a really special day when we celebrate a new baby with family and friends. We love including other men and women to participate in the blessings. It feels especially neat for us to combine them, as men typically administer Mormon baby blessings, and women typically bless and name the baby in Hindu tradition. It’s beautiful for us to have them on the same day.
We usually wait until a couple of months after our babies are born before we have our celebration so that grandparents have time to plan to come back to town. This year, of course, things are a little different, since a couple of months after baby M was born, the world felt like it had imploded!
We considered waiting until travel was fully safe for our high-risk parents again, but felt that it would be a bit too long and the situation was still too uncertain. Since the cradle ceremony is technically supposed to be performed within a year of a baby’s birth, we decided to go ahead and do a virtual celebration this past weekend.
What is a Hindu cradle ceremony?
In some Hindu traditions (including that of my family), a family doesn’t place the baby in a cradle or crib until the 16th day. Until then, the baby sleeps in a sort of hanging piece of cloth, kind of like a hammock or swing.
On the 16th day, the baby is officially placed in the cradle and given a name. The women in the family place the baby inside, sing prayers and songs, and rock the baby. They perform a pooja, or prayer ceremony, to cleanse the house. After that, the mom and baby can leave the house.
They also place a rock inside the cradle to represent strength, and may decorate it with the mom’s wedding sari and a small statue of the god Krishna. It’s also common to dress the baby in beautiful clothing and jewelry. And, of course, it’s wonderful to celebrate with good food with family and friends.
For baby M, we dressed her in a langa, or Indian dress, that I wore as a little girl. It’s actually one that was made from my grandmother’s sari! I also wore one of my mom’s saris. It was so fun having those connections!
What is a Mormon baby blessing?
In our church, children don’t get baptized as babies. Instead, they can choose if they would like to be baptized when they turn 8 years old.
When they’re babies, though, they can receive a special blessing, usually administered by the father or a male relative or friend. This blessing can shed some light on their life and gifts. The family also officially names and presents the baby to the church at this time.
How our baby blessing and cradle ceremony were different this year
Obviously, this year was a little different than it was for our other babies since we couldn’t be together in person with our families and friends. Fortunately, technology made it so that we could still make it happen!
We invited our loved ones to a couple of Zoom meetings where they could hear the blessings and the official names and their meanings. My mom helped lead the cradle ceremony and sang songs over Zoom, as well. It was actually really neat being able to include people from all over! We obviously couldn’t host a large party and luncheon like we usually do, but it was special to have so many supporting virtually.
Finally, of course, our baby was a little older than our others have been on their special days. This meant that she was a little more wiggling during the blessings, but was also more fun to play with and smiled and smiled for everyone!
Combining Christianity and Hinduism
Both of these beautiful religions and cultures are important to our background and heritage. We want our kids to be aware of their ancestry and cultural traditions on both sides of the family. Their names reflect their various heritages, and we love that this celebration can help them remember that, too.
Have any questions about these special ceremonies in our family? Feel free to ask! Thanks for letting us share a bit about baby M’s special day. 🙂