The naming of a child is celebrated like a festival in Hindu culture. An important milestone for the entire family, it is the creation of an identity. From the birth of a child to its marriage, there are several occasions that are celebrated through the course of one’s life, and the naming ceremony is the first one. Called ‘naamkaran’, the event sees the entire family come together to mark this joyous first step. The fifth of the 16 rites of passage of Hinduism is naming.
Usually the naming ceremony is performed 10 days after the birth of a baby. It is believed that the ‘sutak’ begins with the birth of a child. Its duration varies. According to Parashara Smriti, ‘sutak’ is considered to be 10 days in Brahmin Varna, 12 days for Kshatriyas, 15 days for Vaishyas and one month for Shudras. Although the Varna system has become irrelevant in today’s time, it is done on the 11th day.
The naming ceremony is performed by the father. On the day of the naming ceremony, the baby is fed honey and then given ‘darshan’ of the sun – symbolic of the Sun God. The belief behind seeing the sun is that the child should also be as bright as the sun. The child is also made to bow down to Mother Earth as an act of respecting nature. After that, the father, aunt or grandmother whispers the name of the child in the right ear of the baby. Prayers are also offered for the long life and prosperity of the child. The importance of the naming ceremony can be understood from this verse which is recited – “Ayurvedabhivrishcha siddhirvyavahtesta” meaning the person’s longevity and brilliance should increase.
The name of a person impacts the behaviour of the individual, which is why it is very important to pick a name after much thought.
In Hindu culture, it is said that it is better if a person is named after the letter of the same constellation in which the person is born. However, the name is also kept after taking into account the lineage and ‘gotra’. Keeping this in mind, often two names are given, and while one is the commonly used one the other is a secret name known only by the parents. According to some beliefs, the reason a second name is kept is to ward off the evil eye. The secret name is kept at the time of the child’s birth, according to the astronomical position of the planets and after analysing the constellation zodiac. It is also called ‘rashi’ name. The child’s planetary condition and future is said to be predicted by this name. At the time of one’s marriage, horoscopes are also matched according to the name of the zodiac.
As per Hindu tradition, it is very important to have the correct time, place of birth and date of birth of the child to get the correct alphabet for the name.
In earlier times, the second name was often given by a sage based on the qualities of the child, however, this custom is no longer followed, and the parents and family decide the name.
A name is the one thing that stays with a person through their life and becomes their identity. So it is important that a lot of research and thought be put into selecting a name for a child. A name should make a person feel proud.
Nowadays, thanks to the internet, finding name options has become relatively simpler.
A quick search on the internet will take you to some beautiful, unique names that also have a deep meaning. One such example of a name is Raha. The name is considered very beautiful and attractive. The meaning of Raha is peaceful. A Raha name meaning will impact the personality of the person in a manner that will make them peace-loving. Raha name origin can be found in many cultures and languages. Topaz is the lucky gemstone of a person named Raha.
So whether you opt for a traditional name or a modern one, this is everything you need to know about the naming process as per Hindu tradition.