Administering food to the child for the first time - Sowing the seed of purity in Annamaya-Kosh of the child. Performed at the age of 6 months or when a child starts eating solid food for the first time. The food is offered to Yagya Bhagvan first and then given to the child. The education for eating leftovers of yagya means sacrifice for the animal kingdom and the poor in our society, as mentioned in Geeta. The aim of this sanskar a is sowing the seeds of purity in Annamaya Kosh of the child and is performed for healthy growth and strength of the body. It teaches the importance of piousness of Anna. Scriptures say, "Aahar shudhou satvashudhihi" meaning if you eat pious food your mind will be pious. Food is not for the taste but for health y growth of the mind
Annaprashan is conducted when your baby is ready to make the transition from a liquid diet to solids. It can be performed anytime from six months until before his first birthday.
Annaprashan is performed during the even months for boys, generally in the child's sixth or the eighth month. For girls, it is performed during the odd months, usually the child's fifth or the seventh month.
Annaprashan is mainly done at home or at a temple. However, some parents prefer to hire a banquet hall or community centre for the function. In Kerala, many parents prefer to perform the ceremony at Guruvayoor, a famous Hindu temple.
Alternatively, many families in central or eastern India perform annaprashan at home. If you're performing the ceremony at home, you may want to contact a priest to help with the religious rites.
The annaprashan ceremony is performed on a specific day and time after consulting a priest. The baby is dressed in new clothes, often traditional ones such as a dhoti kurta or a lehenga choli.
Annaprashan begins with a puja or a havan for your baby's health and happiness, followed by the symbolic feeding of the prasad or the first bite of solid food. It is an occasion for celebration, and family and friends are invited to attend.
The religious ceremony is often followed by a fun game where a number of symbolic objects are placed on a banana leaf or silver tray which your baby can then pick up. The objects include:
books symbolising learning jewels symbolising wealth a pen symbolising wisdom clay symbolising property food items symbolising a love for food
Family and friends have a great time cheering the little one while he makes his choice. It is believed that the object your baby picks up from the tray represents his area of interest in future.
A variety of food is served on the baby's plate. Food for the prasad is usually rice pudding (kheer or payash) if you want to offer your baby something sweet. Or it is plain mashed rice with ghee and some well-cooked dal if you want to include savoury fare.
Some also choose to have an elaborate celebration and serve fried rice, pulao, vegetables, meat and fish along with kheer.