The ceremony is called Pansi and marks the first occasion on which a child eats solid food. The ceremony is held when the child reaches 5 months (girls) or 6 months (boys) of age the actual date is decided by a priest/astrologer.
A very interesting and quite charming ceremony in which the child's family gather to watch the their first taste of solid food after 5/6 months of only consuming milk. An alter is set up where the head of the family and a priest are sat in order to conduct the ceremony. The first part consists of invoking, and paying respect to, the gods to be present at the auspicious occasion. Rice, coloured powder incense and candles are offered to the gods who are called upon with the tintinnabulation of small brass bells.
A red Tikka blessing is placed on the baby's forehead (this symbol is the acknowledgment of the presence of divine spirits or gods) and they are then dressed in a traditional red silk outfit embroidered with gold designs and a dubo ko mala (a garland/necklace of holy grass).
Then comes the feeding of rice; the child's first taste of solid food. The baby is offered all kinds of foods to taste from a Thaa bu (a plate which has eggs, yogurt, wine, fruits, Roti, meat and fish). The child tries to eat a small amount of each of the foods on the plate helped by the mother and head of the family. After the food the baby is then offered another tray with an assortment of different items including: books symbolising learning, jewels meaning wealth, a pen symbolising wisdom, clay symbolic of property and various other items symbolic of myriad career paths. The Newar's believe that the first item the baby picks up will be prophetic, hinting towards their future career. The family watch as the child picks and all call and cheer in anticipation of what they will choose.
For the final part of the ceremony the baby is held by the mothers brother and carried to a nearby temple/shrine to receive blessing from the gods. The baby is carried inside and then the congregation exits the temple to the right in order to walk clockwise around behind the temple thus concluding the ceremony. The rest of the family will continue to celebrate with food and drink for the rest of the day.
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