Baby Shower (Godh Bharai)

Carmen D. Lade

Every woman is a god when she becomes a mother.

In some countries, a baby shower is a way to celebrate the expected or delivered birth of a child by presenting gifts to the mother at a party whereas other cultures host a baby shower to celebrate the transformation of a woman into a mother.

A Baby Shower in India is commonly known as “Godh Bharai”. But in Bengal, it is termed as ‘Shaad’, in Kerala, ‘Seemandham’ in Tamil Nadu, it is known as ‘Valakappu’.

This event is the perfect time for the moms-to-be surprised with gifts for her and baby. Different communities and families have their own reasoning for a perfect time to celebrate this event. Most commonly, this ceremony is held when the mother-to-be completes seven months of pregnancy. Both mother and baby are believed to be in “safe phase” then.

Godh Bharai ritual is celebrated differently in different parts of the country. Regardless of the community mom-to-be belongs, all communities have one aspect common. That is, focus on celebrating motherhood and blessing the yet-to-be-born baby. In some families, it is part of their religious ceremony that the body of the mother-to-be is anointed with a special oil by elderly females in the family. It is believed that the oils used for anointing and the intentions for their use have a very special purpose with physical, emotional and spiritual effects on body, mind and spirit. The Mother-to-be is then dressed up in a saree or any other traditional dress of her choice, adorned with flowers or garlands. Finally, puja is performed before the activities or events celebrating Godh Bharai begin.

In case of a Baby Shower ceremony that is inspired from the west, friends and the mother-to-be organize a get together with a baby theme and gifts are given to the mom-to-be and for the baby-to-be born yet.

Keeping in mind the various activities scheduled to celebrate a baby shower occasion, friends and relatives shall ensure that the mother-to-be is well rested before the hectic day that lies ahead.

Dress code should be considered keeping in mind the weather and location. If it is a traditional ceremony, saree or a lehenga would be an ideal dress code. For an informal Baby Shower with friends, an elegant evening gown or dress can be considered.

Event need not be organized indoors. It can be arranged by the pool side, in the lawn or even on the terrace.

Guests could leave baby cards, baby booties, soft pillows, baby items, photo frames etc for the mom-to-be and baby-to-be born. Give back to the guests a token of appreciation. It can be anything in the form of scarves, books, scented candles and so on.

Godh Bharai calls for a feast complete with sweets and deep fried savouries. However, a lot of moms-to-be are very much health conscious these days. But this should not stop them from having good time. A ‘diet’ theme where baked or steamed food are complemented by fruits, juices, vegetables can be ideal not just for the mom-to-be but for the guests as well.

Think of a few entertaining past- times for everyone such as music, dance and mehandi artists. Play simple game like guessing the gender of the baby by just looking at the mum’s belly. Add fun themes to the event like everyone dressing up as if they are pregnant too (stuffing pillows on their bellies) will be fun and thus help the mom-to-be not feel out of place.

The little one is on its way and there is no better way than a Godh Bharai (Baby Shower) to celebrate it. Enjoy this occasion with your dear ones. It will be over before you know it. For sure, this day is a gift.

Remember that motherhood is hard and a choice you make to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own. It will be her greatest accomplishment when a woman becomes a mother

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