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Mundan is one of the most important ceremonies celebrated in Hindu communities for purifying the baby during first year of a child. In some religions, Mundan is also celebrated during third year of a child when his first hair cut is performed. Mundan is termed by different names in different states but this is a mandatory ritual for all Indians. Traditionally, Mundan was done for boy child only but now it is performed for girl babies also. Mundan is performed at a specified date suggested by the priest.
Different people have different beliefs about the Mundan. Some people consider the first hairs impure and symbolize the past life’s negativity of a child. The main aim of this ceremony is to protect the baby from evil and purifying his soul from negativity. Mundan also ensures a bright future for the baby. Some people also believe that Mundan controls the body temperature of a child and keeps him cool and calm. For some people, Mundan improves blood circulation and also promises thicker and better quality hairs in the future. Along with Indian community, Chinese people also believe in celebrating Mundan ceremony.
Mundan is followed by a puja performed by the priest at a specified time. Mother sits along with the baby and faces the west direction. Priest shaves off only a small part of hair and rest of the hairs are removed by trained barber. Some people believe that initial hairs should be removed by father instead of priest. When complete hair is removed then head is washed by holy water and turmeric and sandal paste is applied over the head of the baby. After Mundan, priest instructs how the removed hairs should be disposed. Most of the people offer the hair to some holy river like Ganga.
Different people have different traditions associated with Mundan ceremony. Some people love to celebrate it at their home only. They invite priest at their home and ask him to complete the Mundan ceremony. They also invite their friends and relatives for making this occasion more special. Barber is also invited at home for completing this Mundan ceremony. Some people also take their babies to some saloon or beauty parlor for performing Mundan ceremony. Some families travel to some holy place along with their friends and relatives for Mundan ceremony.