Namakarana

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Namakarana (Sanskrit: नामकरण, Nāmakaraṇa) (literally, naming) is the naming ceremony in Hinduism and a Sanskara (rite of passage) to name a baby.[1]

According to the Grhya Sutras, Namakarana ceremony is typically performed on the tenth or the twelfth day after birth; some texts suggest the naming ceremony be done on the first new moon or full moon day after the 10th day of birth.[2] Alternate opinions range from the tenth day to the first day of the second year.[3]

On the day of this samskara, the infant is bathed and dressed in new garments,[4] their formal name, selected by the parents, is announced. The naming ritual solemnizes the child as an individual, marking the process by which a child is accepted and socialized by people around them; the rite of passage also includes a gathering of friends and relatives of the baby's parents, typically with gifts and for a feast.[4]

The ancient Sanskrit texts provide numerous and divergent guidelines to the parents for choosing names.[2] A boy’s name by ancient conventions is typically of two or four syllables, starting with a sonant, a semivowel in the middle, and ending in a visarga. A girl's name is typically an odd number of syllables, ending in a long ā or ī, resonant and easy to pronounce.[2] Unpleasant, inauspicious, or words that easily transform into bad or evil words must be avoided, state the Gryhasutras, while the preferred names are those affiliated with a deity, virtues, good qualities, lucky stars, constellation, derivatives of the name of the father, or mother, or the place of birth, or beautiful elements of nature (trees, flowers, birds).[2][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pandey, R.B. (1962, reprint 2003). The Hindu Sacraments (Saṁskāra) in S. Radhakrishnan (ed.) The Cultural Heritage of India, Vol.II, Kolkata:The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, ISBN 81-85843-03-1, p.392
  2. ^ a b c d PV Kane, Samskara, Chapter VI, History of Dharmasastras, Vol II, Part I, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, pages 238-254
  3. ^ Pandey, Rajbali (1969, reprint 2006) Hindu Saṁskāras: Socio-Religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments, Delhi:Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0434-1, pp.78-89
  4. ^ a b c Mary McGee (2007), Samskara, in The Hindu World (Editors: Mittal and Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415772273, pages 342-343
Bibliography

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