The Annaprashana (Sanskrit: अन्नप्राशन, Annaprāśana, Bengali: অন্নপ্রাশন, Onnoprashon) also known as annaprashana vidhi, annaprasan or Anna-prasanam, is a Hindu rite of passage ritual (Saṃskāra) that marks an infant’s first intake of food other than milk. The term annaprashan literally means “food feeding” or “eating of food”. The ceremony is usually arranged in consultation with a priest, who arranges an auspicious date on which to conduct the ceremony.
The Annaprashana, unlike many other Sankara, remains an important ceremony in modern India
Why is the annaprashan performed?
Annaprashan is conducted when your baby is ready to make the transition from a liquid diet to solids. It can be performed anytime from six months until before his first birthday.
Annaprashan is performed during the even months for boys, generally in the child’s sixth or the eighth month. For girls, it is performed during the odd months, usually the child’s fifth or the seventh month.
Where can I perform the annaprashan?
Annaprashan is mainly done at home or at a temple. However, some parents prefer to hire a banquet hall or community centre for the function. In Kerala, many parents prefer to perform the ceremony at Guruvayoor, a famous Hindu temple. Alternatively, many families in central or eastern India perform annaprashan at home. If you’re performing the ceremony at home, you may want to contact a priest to help with the religious rites.
What kind of foods are offered to the baby during Annaprashan?
A variety of food is served on the baby’s plate. Food for the prasad is usually rice pudding (kheer or payash) if you want to offer your baby something sweet. Or it is plain mashed rice with ghee and some well-cooked dal if you want to include savoury fare.
Some also choose to have an elaborate celebration and serve fried rice, pulao, vegetables, meat and fish along with kheer.