Sunday, September 4, 2011

Seemantham and Valaikappu - 31Aug2011

We celebrated my Seemantham (Godh Bharayi/ Baby Shower) on 31Aug2011 in our home, hosted by sister-in-law, brother-in-law, father-in-law parents and of course Anand.We have invited very close family and a few close friends.

A little bit of history about Seemantham (taken from In Tamil Nadu, the Seemantham ceremony marks a woman's passage into motherhood and celebrates her fertility. Seemantham is a ritual performed widely throughout Tamil Nadu by Hindus, Muslims, and Christians in preparation for a woman's first delivery, and its primary functions are to satisfy the pregnant woman's desire, cravings etc; bless her, and ensure a safe delivery and a healthy baby. Mantras are intended to purify the fetus and to request Brahmavu, Agni, Ragadevi, Vishnu, Soman and Gangadevi to protect it, to make the delivery smooth and to make the child healthy and intelligent. It takes about one hour. Seemantham is only for the first child. 

This ceremony is performed during the odd months of pregnancy mostly during the fifth or seventh month for the expectant mother in her mother's house. Prayers are invoked for the well-being of the mother-to -be and the fetus. I am supposed be dressed up just like I did during my haldi ceremony before wedding.

For convenience, mostly people do this seemantham and Valaikappu on the same day, which is what we did too.

I had taken a day off on 31st Aug. We (Anand, I and parents) woke up fairly late at about 7:30, had coffee and cereal. After organizing the last minute things, like getting all the puja items organized in plates ready to be used by the gurukkul/priest, I went off to take shower.
Oh ya, before that, I had made some curd rice and mom made some suji-halwa for nayvedyam.
Soon after I wore my new saree, my sister-in-law  (SIL), brother-in-law and our little nephew arrived with all other puja items to be used during ceremony (and boy oh boy, there were many).

Then my SIL put on my jadai naagam (flower adornment for hair) which she had ordered for me. I have missed out on this during wedding and hence I was really thrilled to be wearing this. After all, this would be the last time I would get a chance to wear this. 

By then a few of the guests we have invited started arriving. Soon after the gurukkul also arrived and the puja started. All of us were wearing traditional cloths, just like we did for our wedding. Ha ha ha, you can officially call me fat now :) And that heavy silk saree isn't helping much in that regard. Oh well, after the baby is here, I am hoping to be back to what I was before.
The Seemantham puja itself lasted about 30 mins and then the Valaikappu started with all the women applying kumkum, haldi, chandan, bangles and flowers. 
It truly was like a haldi ceremony during wedding. Thanks to my SIL who made this all possible and memorable. Below is the picture taken with parents.
Below is the picture with my SIL, BIL and little nephew. 
Below is the picture with my FIL.
We ordered food from Udipi, a vegetarian restaurant. According to our tradition, we needed to order rice verities for this function. So, the menu consisted of:
Tamarind rice, coconut rice, bisibeli bath, sweet pongal, curd rice, medu vada and sambar, aloo gobi, beans, papad, pickles, ladoo, fruits and of course coke. Everyone said that food was very nice.

Every one brought so many gifts. While I cannot name each and everyone of them, I am truly thankful and very moved for all the thoughtful gifts. 

Thanks to my parents (and sister) who have brought saree and gifts to Anand and I from India. Thanks to my Father in law for being here on our special day and your gifts.

A special thanks to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law who have put together a bottomless big box of gifts! The more I see the more gifts seem to come out of that box-of-gifts!! Thank you soo much for making my day so memorable. You both (and Karthy) have truly helped make this day one of the most memorable days of my life, perhaps second only to the day I got married to Anand.

Without you all, it wouldn't have been the same. From the bottom of my heart I can say that I couldn't have asked for a better day. 

And lastly, thanks to Anand without whom none of this would have been possible. 

Our baby is truly blessed.

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