Godh Bharai is a ceremony that hold utmost spiritual significance in India. All the different lingual communities in India have their own name for this Hindu ritual. In Northern India, it is called Godh Bharai, in the East it is called 'Shaad' and in the South it is called Shrimantam. Basically, it is equivalent to the baby shower ceremony in the West. Traditionally, the godh bharai ceremony begins by having the mother-to-be decked up like a bride. She is then made to sit in a place of honour. Then the mother-to-be holds out her 'palla' or the draped part of her saree. All the guests bless the pregnant lady and put their gifts in her 'godh' or lap. This is where this pregnancy ritual gets it name from. The mother-to-be is also fed delicious foods during the ceremony usually prepared by her mother or mother-in-law. In fact, all her favourite dishes are prepared for the godh bharai ceremony. Every woman who are part of the godh bharai function whisper into the pregnant lady's ears and say something good about her baby. You could just whisper your good wishes or assure her by saying that it will be a girl for sure. The ceremony is concluded by singing and dancing to celebrate the coming of a new member in the family. On a pan-India basis, this Hindu ritual is carried out during the 7th month of pregnancy. However, the time period varies among different communities. Sometimes, this ritual can also be done in the 8th or 9th month of pregnancy. The basic purpose of a godh bharai ceremony is to give the mother-to-be lots of love and gifts for herself and her baby. There are some marked differences between the typical Western baby shower and an Indian godh bharai ceremony. Here are some of the major differences you are bound to notice. Godh bharai is usually an all-women function. Men are not allowed in this ceremony. It is the women of the family who have a gala time centred around the mom-to-be.Traditionally men did not attend baby shower ceremonies as well but in today's cosmopolitan environment, they are not left out. Godh bharai is a religious ceremony and not just a gathering of friends like a baby shower. Godh bharai is done on an auspicious date selected by the priests. In some communities a puja is also performed during this ceremony. Apart from being given many generous gifts, the mother-to-be is fed a lot of delicious foods during this ceremony. Like all other Hindu rituals, godh bharai is also an excuse to bring together family and friends to foster a feeling of community.
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