Godh-Bharai is Indian baby shower ceremony. This ceremony is called “Shaad” in Bengal. In South India, the ceremony is called “Valaikaapu “ or “Seemantham, also known as ‘Srimantha”.Godh Bharai literally means “Filling of the Lap”. It is a ceremony to bless the expectant mother and her to-be baby.
When is Godh Bharai performed ?
This ceremony is done during the 7th or 9th month of pregnancy. Since after 7th month, chances of termination of pregnancy become extremely low, this function is performed to celebrate the impending arrival of the baby.
How is God bharai performed ?
God bharai is celebrated to bless the expectant mother and to wish for the safe arrival of the baby. This ceremony is mainly celebrated by the females of the family. The expectant mother is dressed in a new sari and jewellery and sits with her sari’s palla in her lap. Since god-bharai means “filling of the lap“, family and friends bless to-be mother and place coconut and gifts in her lap and feed her an array of dishes prepared for the occasion. They whisper their good wishes for the baby in mother’s ear.
God bharai is a women’s function and also includes lots of singing and dancing. Special songs meant for mother and baby are sung and teasing and merriment goes on. Some games may also be played.
Lots of gifts are also given to expectant mother and her baby. These include clothes, jewellery , baby-stuff and money.
Dressing up for Godh Bharai
God bharai is a big function for a to-be mother and dressing up is a part of it, since you will be the guest of honour.
- Usually a traditional-wear like sari or lehenga is chosen.
- An auspicious color like shades of red or yellow is considered good.
- Do not choose anything too heavy, as you will have to wear it for a considerable amount of time. Think about your comfort first.
- Try not to wear too much jewellery or anything which pinches or makes you uncomfortable.
- Wear clothes according to the weather and your health. If it is cold, wear enough to keep yourself warm.
Planning a Godh bharai
God bharai is usually planned by friends and family of the expectant mother. If you are planning a god bharai for someone in your family, you should keep below things in mind :
- Plan well in advance so that there are no last minute hiccups.
- Keep schedule relaxed, so that to-be mother does not feel over-whelmed.
- Invite people well in advance. Plan well to see how many or less number of guests you want. Check with the mother who she would like to invite.
- Plan music and dance beforehand.
- Prepare for games if any.
- Food is usually most important and keep in mind to-be-mother’s preference when planning.
- Do not force to-be mother to do anything, she is not comfortable doing.
- Check with her if she wants any particular gifts for herself and the baby.
Godh-bharai / Baby shower games
It is fun to arrange some games for guests to go with the baby shower theme. Here are some ideas which can be used while planning baby shower party:
Guess the gender and suggest a name
You can keep some blue and some pink cards for boy and girl respectively. Ask the guests to guess the gender of baby and then write a name for boy or girl as they choose. Ask them to also mention their own name in the card and put in it a glass jar, so mother will have a collection of names to choose from when needed.
Guess the language
Write the word “BABY” in as many languages as you can find in as many sheets as guests. Distribute the sheets to guests and ask them to guess the language. Whoever gets maximum number right wins.
Feed the Baby
Stick a picture of baby on wall or someplace convenient. Blindfold the guests and ask them to feed the baby food. You can keep cereal or applesauce in a bowl and give a spoon. Whoever gets the spoon to the mouth or is closest wins.
Guess the circumference of mom
Distribute a roll of ribbon or string to guests and ask them to guess the circumference and cut the length of ribbon to that. Whoever makes the best guess wins.
Guess the date of birth
Tell everyone the due date. Make a calendar of that month and ask guests to guess the birth date of baby and also write their names underneath. It will be fun for mother to see who got the date right post delivery.
Guess the baby items
In a bag, fill all kinds of baby items like bottle, diaper, pacifier, rattle, teethers, diaper pins, bib etc. Now give each guest a paper and pen. Guests have to just feel the items without seeing and then write the names of as many items as they recognize on paper. Whoever gets most right wins.
Godh-bharai celebrated before marriage ?
God-bharai is also celebrated in North India before marriage. This ceremony is also called “Roka” in Punjab and signifies acceptance of the girl by groom’s family. The would-be bride is dressed in a sari and females from groom’s family give her gifts, saris, jewellery, cosmetics and dress her up. While giving gifts , they bless her and wish for a happy life ahead for the bride and the groom.