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Godh bharai, is a gaudy and flamboyant ritual which is carried out during pregnancy, usually during the seventh or ninth month of pregnancy, however it depends on the community the would be mother belongs to.
Many communities feel that once the mother has crossed her seventh month of pregnancy, both she and her baby will be in a safe phase. In some other communities, the godh bharai ceremony is performed once you complete your eighth month of pregnancy. There are still other communities who do not perform a godh bharai but instead have a special celebration once the baby is born. Usually it is held in the third trimester of pregnancy,as most people believe that, the news of pregnancy should not divulged during the first trimester of pregnancy as it attracts an evil eye. Scientifically speaking, every pregnancy is in a high risk zone of miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy so, in order to welcome an unborn baby, firstly its birth should be confirmed, hence the third trimester is considered to be the safest phase!
The ritual is primarily held to welcome the unborn baby to the family and bless the mother-to-be with abundant joys of motherhood. In Hindi, godh bharai literally means to 'fill the lap' with abundance. In Bengal it is known as shaad, in Kerala, seemandham and in Tamil Nadu it is called valakappu. It is basically the Indian version of highly popular baby shower ceremony.Some say it is held to celebrate the transformation of a female from a woman to a mother.
Significance of Godh Bharai
During this occasion, lap of the expectant lady is filled with various items by her mother and mother- in- law, as well as the relatives and guests. These items include coconut marked with swastik, betel nuts, and silver coins. These items are considered as good omen in the Indian tradition.
The mother-to-be is dressed almost like a bride. All ladies offer gifts and shower the mother and the baby with blessings. They sing traditional songs and dance to their heart's content. Holy hymns are chanted by the priest and everyone prays for the well-being for the expectant lady and the baby in the womb.
Tips to make Godh Bharai , a fun filled event:
1.Proper rest: Since the would be mother's body undergoes humongous hormonal changes, it is advisable to take proper rest so soothe the mom and her baby of any discomforts that emanate from stress.
2.Comfortable outfit: The outfit which renders maximum level of comfort to the mom, should be worn for the event. Usually Indian outfits are preferred on such occasions.
3.Food and drinks: The food and other beverages served to the mom, should not be harmful either for the mom or her baby.Since nausea and acid reflux reigns supreme amongst the discomforts of pregnancy, it is advisable to have a menu as per the would-be mom's choice or preference.
4.Lastly Enjoy and have fun:The event is a fun-filled and exuberant celebration, so have fun and celebrate motherhood, as "you are blessed"!