Last week we went to California (where Rishi is from) for Penelope’s Annaprashan.
In some Indian cultures (Rishi is Bengali), an annaprashan is held to celebrate a child’s first feeding of solid food. I’ve had a ton of people ask about what a rice ceremony is so I thought I’d explain it! I think these are all a little different depending on each family (similar to how everyone celebrates holidays a little different) but this is how we did it with Rishi’s family.
So what is an annaprashan?
An annaprashan, or rice ceremony, literally means “the eating of food”.
It is typically done in odd months for girls and even months for boys. We did this ceremony with Roy when he was about 10 months so he had been eating food for a while but since Penelope was just 5.5 months, this was literally her first bite of food!
Nowadays, the rice ceremony has become a big celebration for the family. Since we don’t live in California, many of the people Rishi grew up with come to celebrate! We had about 75 people at both kid’s rice ceremonies. Almost the size of our wedding! 😉
The kid’s clothes came straight from India and are absolutely adorable.
Penelope wore a little mini sari and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. She also had her face painted with dots of sandalwood paste. Roy had this done as well. Neither one of them liked it ha!
The ceremony is performed by the child’s maternal uncle or grandfather.
Since my brother and parents couldn’t make it, Rishi’s brother performed the ceremony! And since Rishi’s dad couldn’t make it, we had Rishi’s uncle help as well.
Rishi’s brother, Deb, fed Penelope a spoonful of Payesh, a sweet dessert made with rice, milk & sugar – traditional rice pudding. Traditionally the baby gets 3 spoonfuls of Payesh. Penelope actually did really well and even opened up her mouth for the 2nd and 3rd spoonful! I have a feeling she’ll like food a bit more than Roy does. 🙂
Following the feeding the babies are blessed by family members and elders by placing rice and grass on their head.
Then there is a fun game where Penelope is presented with a tray.
On the tray is a variety of things – a book, a piece of jewelry, money, a stethoscope, a pen, dirt, a ball. Whatever she picks represents her area of interest in the future. Penelope picked a book (Roy had picked dirt). Apparently a book represents learning while dirt representing property!
And that sums up the ceremony!
Everyone eats and interestingly enough, give Penelope gifts. It’s like it’s her birthday party! 🙂
So there you have it! A recap of Penelope’s annaprashan. I hope you learned a thing or two!
Thanks so much for reading!