Aarti Natarajan Sharma
The ceremony of Godh Bharai, also known as a baby shower. An age-old custom involving only women, the occasion involves blessing a mother-to-be and showering her with gifts. This is usually done in the 7th or the 9th month of pregnancy and is said to invoke blessings for the child to be born. In present times, this has become an amalgamation of the older custom and a baby shower and often involves playing pregnancy-related games.
The literal translation of Godh Bharai means filling the lap of a pregnant woman with abundance. The actual concept of Godh Bharai involved prayers and sometimes a havan being performed to ask the gods to shower the pregnant woman with blessings and pray for a smooth delivery and good health of the baby. The elders of the family gathered to put various gifts in the lap of the pregnant woman. These varied from jewellery and clothes to books and devotional products. The pregnant woman was made to sit comfortably, and one by one, people would come up to her and give her blessings and place something in her lap.
The more modern concept of a baby shower also involves gifts but it is more light-hearted in nature. There is no puja or havan and instead the women friends and relatives play games and bring lots of different types of food items!
One of the important things to remember when it comes to gifting for this occasion is that usually there is nothing given for the baby. In India especially, elders believe that buying or receiving anything for a baby before its born could jinx the delivery and childbirth. This is why gifts are usually centered around gifts for the mom-to-be. This, however, is changing as brth of a baby is medically assisted and is no longer a scary situation.
There are a number of gifting options available in the market for Godh Bharai. One of the most popular ones is devotional items. Idols or pictures of gods are considered auspicious. People also often place the Bhagavad Gita in the lap of the mom-to-be since it is believed that the Gita is a repository of all wisdom. Apart from this, gifts such prayer beads, prayer books or chalisas in praise of different gods and devotional songs CDs are some of the other gifting options.
Maternity clothes are another great gift. Of course, you will need to find out the size and choice of the mom-to-be, especially since pregnancy is often a time of very specific tastes.
Stationery products are always a safe gifting option. Most people like stationery and it’s something that is useful and practical, apart from being pleasing to the eye.
A wonderful way to make a pregnant woman feel good is through customised gifts. There are so many varied gifts available with different personalisation options. Some allow you to write a message and others have name inscriptions. There are also a number of photo gift options available for you to choose from. Sending a customised gifts reflects on your thoughtfulness and adds that extra dimension to a regular gift.
Pregnancy is a beautiful time but can often be overwhelming for a new mother. The ceremony of Godh Bharai is designed to make her feel special and allow her and the baby to receive blessings from special friends and family.