My Marathi Baby Shower (Dohale Jevan)

During the seventh month of pregnancy, there is a Marathi tradition equivalent to a Western baby shower, Dohale Jevan. This literally means, the pregnant woman’s cravings. The mother-to-be is dressed head to toe in flowers and given all the food she has been longing for. Friends and family gather to shower her with love to help prepare her for childbirth and motherhood. This was such a beautiful but emotional experience for me.

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The pregnant woman sits a swing (palana) during the celebration. As I was still getting used to my constantly changing centre of gravity, I was a bit nervous at the prospect of sitting on a swing. I was “over the moon” when I saw the decorations and that the swing had been stablised by some rope.

During the celebration, there were several rituals and games. It’s illegal to determine the gender of a foetus in India, but one game claimed to reveal all…

There were seven types of kheer (a milk based sweet) in small bowls, covered with a poori. I had to pick three to discover the gender. There were three kinds of female kheer and four were male. The kheer predicted I was carrying a girl (even with the odds stacked against it).

Basically, never trust kheer.

 

A group of ladies dressed in green sarees attended, trained in Marathi folk dance. They performed a special musical play with nine scenes, a scene for each month of pregnancy. My limited Marathi knew it was funny, the first month a little embarrassing. My mother-in-law told me that a couple of generations ago, the women in the family performed these dances. Unfortunately the tradition is dying, women no longer know the routines, so people hire trained groups instead.dohale-jevan-1In the West, one of the main focuses of a baby shower is to help the mother prepare for the arrival of her baby by purchasing items for the baby. In India, as it’s considered bad luck to buy things for a baby before it’s born, the mother receives gifts (jewellery, clothes, dried fruit etc.). The baby is later showered with gifts at their naming ceremony.

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After the Dohale Jeevan, it’s traditional for the mother-to-be to leave her husband’s home and return to her mother for her delivery and first months of motherhood. My mum had come to India to attend the baby shower and travel back with me. I was devastated to leave, but my husband but I knew it was for the best.

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Rohan was due during the hottest month of the year, when it reaches 48°C (imagine that nine months pregnant or in labour, with the horrible power cuts). In floods of tears, hugging my husband goodbye, my bump and I left India. Once we arrived in England, I was happy to be back. It was so good to see everyone I hadn’t seen in well over a year and to be in a completely familiar environment as I prepared to step into the unknown.

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22 thoughts on “My Marathi Baby Shower (Dohale Jevan)

  1. Hello Lauren,

    Its lovely to see all the traditional celebrations with grandeur, but I am commenting here to share info. Its Akshay here and my comments are under the pen-name WCG2. Being from Mumbai and also an expectant father, I had gone to Crawford Market near Mumbai CST or Bombay Victoria Terminus(BBVT) as old Mumbaikars remember. Here I found that all baby products including Pampers are for wholesale value and is extremely cost-effective. For. e.g. 50 Pamper Diapers for 280 rupees. All sort of baby products including Seba-Med from germany is also available for extremely good price. The only thing is that one must know the local surroundings, and I would advice Abhiram to go(if at all you decide to go) along with his friend who has some knowledge of Mumbai. The baby shops are located in the Sheik Memon Street and the diaper store is located at the entrance to this street. The neighbouring Abdul Rehman street is known for leather and school-stationary item. Crawford market is the oldest electrified commercial building in India and was designed by John Lockwood Kipling who is Rudyard Kipling’s father. The old Mumbadevi from where Mumbai gets her name is also in the neighbourhood. There are two Duronto A/C Express which will take you to Mumbai in an overnight journey of 11 hours. I suggest you to take the Howrah-Mumbai Duronto as it reaches after 1000 hrs in the morning and the shops here open at 1200 hrs. The shops are closed or partial open on sunday so I would suggest going on a saturday. That is, start by friday night 2325 hrs reach on saturday 1030hrs, shop till 1600 hrs and return train at 1715hrs from CSTM and reaching NGP by 0410 on sunday morning. I am sorry post but I wanted to share about this goldmine as it is worthsharing.

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  2. Lauren, your mother in law is very pretty to look at. She almost look like she herself has school going kids 🙂

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  3. Lauren,

    Thanks for sharing this lovely post about your baby shower in India, this information is very interesting. You are so lovely with your blue sari and flowers in your hair. Rohan is very cute and I am happy for you and your Husband.

    Love,
    Melissa

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  4. @Lauren

    You look absolutely stunning in you blue saree and white flower. God bless you. I almost thought of putting a black mark on behind your ear to protect from evil eye LOL. Almost like Goddess Saraswati. All most all the rituals are the same all over the country among hindus. In North India it is called in Hindi “Godh Barai” (filling up of the womb). Among bengalis and north indians fruits are placed in the loose end of the saree which symbolizes the womb. The guessing of the gender is also very common.

    http://blog.santm.com/2009/02/my-baby-shower.html

    I think the next big ceremony would be the “Annaprashan” (first rice eating ceremony), where the baby makes the formal transition from liquid food to solid food.

    http://www.babycenter.in/a1016889/annaprashan-first-rice-eating-ceremony

    The next big ceremony most probably would be the Upanayan Sanskar (Sacred Thread Ceremony) which more like Christian Baptism

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanayana

    Eagerly waiting for more details.

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      • I understand that rohan is having teething problems. There is Wonderful homeopathic medicine called calcaria phos for such problems. Two pills thrice daily provides relief. It homeopathic so perfectly safe for children. U can also rub honey on his gums to reduce the itchiness.

        A few soft teethers are also helpful

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      • Hi friend,
        We can see two teeth almost through at the bottom. I am using some homeopathic granules from England which contain Chamomilla recutita.

        My mother-in-law also suggested honey but I’ve been told by several people that honey is unfortunately dangerous before the age of one because it can cause botulism.

        He has a toy that we keep in the fridge that helps somewhat. He’s having a good day today, thankfully. I can’t wait for them to be here and give him some relief!

        I hope you are well and thank you!! 😀

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  5. What a sweet ceremony ! I think it was wise of you to go back to England for your last months of pregnancy.

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  6. Dear Lauren,
    This is nice post.I would like to inform you that my father and his rotary club has made film on Child education If you get time please do watch the film it is a 15 mintues movie. The movie is in Malayalam with English subtitles. Please do watch the movie, I am putting link here.Wish you greate day

    Gopal

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  7. This is so fascinating! I always thought that a baby shower was created as a marketing ploy. Little did I know that some countries actually have rituals surrounding it! It is quite sad though to leave your husband’s home when you are about to give birth. What about your husband, though? Does that mean he did not get to see your child’s first moment?

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  8. Hi Lauren, enjoyed reading the post about your beautiful baby shower. You’ve mentioned that there were trained groups that came to perform on the occasion. I had also read about this group (Anandi group) in a newspaper article, where they mentioned performing at your function. I’m residing in London and will be coming to Nagpur for delivery at mother’s place. My mother wants to use their services for my baby shower, but we’re unable to get the contact details. It will be great if you could share their phone number /address with me, so that we can contact them.

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