A Mundan Ceremony or Tonsure/ Tonsuring Ceremony is a very significant ritual tradition for Hindus. In many parts of the country we also call it Chaula or Choodakarana. In Mundan Sanskar we are shaving off baby’s first hair or the birth hair.
In Hindu religion, the mundan is performed mostly during the first or third year of a child’s life. In some regions, the mundan is done only for the male child. However, in most families girls have a mundan too.
Why is this ceremony/ ritual performed? In most communities a mundan or first haircut is done in the belief that it purifies the child. Many also believe that a mundan rids the baby of his past life’s negativity. It bestows a long life and a good future, guarding the child from the evil eye. It symbolizes the cleansing of the child’s body and soul. At a more practical angle it surely helps to keep the baby’s head cool, especially in hot summer months. This in turn helps relieve headache and pains caused by teething & improves the growth of the baby’s hair.
Every family has its own traditions for performing the mundan. Some perform it at home inviting the priest and relatives to bless the child. Others may ask the barber to come home after their priest gives them an auspicious time. These days, many choose to take their children to a salon or beauty parlour. Many salons offer special mundan haircuts. Some families take their child to a holy place such as a temple, for the first haircut. Others may go to the banks of a holy river like the Ganga.