THE CULTURE AND CUSTOM OF THE INDIAN COMMUNITY: BIRTH: AFTER GIVING BIRTH
BRINGING THE BABY HOME
A baby that was born in the hospital is brought back home on the third, fifth, seventh or on any other odd day after the birth. Before the baby is brought into the house the aalati ceremony is held to avoid ill fate or calamaties. For this ceremony a tray containing turmeric powder, liquidified betel lime chalk, charcoal, betel leaf and lighted camphor is lifted and turned three times. Then the cumanggil (a married woman with children) inserts her thumb into the ingredients and smear the ingredients on the mother and baby foreheads. The tray contents are discarded when both mother and baby enters the house.
TAKING A BATH AFTER GIVING BIRTH
Both mother and baby are separated from the rest of the family in a special room. For the first two weeks visitors are forbidden to visit them unless for medical purposes. If the birth was by ceaserian operation then the mother is forbidden to bathe due to her weak physical health because of the operation. If it was a normal birth then the mother can bathe a day after her delivery. Herbs and leaves like aadatoodai are boiled and the boiled water is used for the bath. The mother hair is dried using incense smoke.
The baby is bathed in the afternoon by showering his whole body with warm water mixed with various types of herbs and milk to avoid epilepsy and yellow fever. The baby body is lightly massaged. Turmeric powder, sesame oil, and finely grounded poppy seeds and green peas are used as cleanser for the baby body. The baby body is then dried using incense smoke and sprinkled with talcum of rice powder. The Indian community also practices swaddling the newly born baby.
LULLYBYING A BABY
This ceremony is called taalaattumeans to shake the tongue. It begins with uttering aaraaro aariraro or words of praises so that the baby will grow up to be beneficial.
GIVING A NAME
As soon as the baby reaches the age of 16 days the giving a name ceremony is held. The baby is placed inside a cradle. This ceremony, handled by the eldest in the family and an expert on religion, begins with prayers as a thanksgiving, as well as cleaning the house compound and lighting oil lamps. Offerings to God are hen chicken curry, hard-boiled eggs and dried fish. Then the baby name is announced. The choice of baby name is normally related to the Hindu religion from historians and ancestors, as well as according to the baby birthday. Relatives in attendance present gifts.