Baby’s Naming Ceremony

 

I need to start this by saying how proud I am of my little chap. It was a bit daunting, inviting so many people to a party for a baby, everyone expecting to meet the new member of the family, how would he react? Would he be scared? Would we have to leave? In fact, to my relief, he was a perfect host! He had a nice power nap in the middle and cracked the most beautiful smiles. A social butterfly, dressed in red silk.

Traditionally in my husband’s culture, the naming ceremony will happen on the 12th day of a baby’s life. The name is chosen based on their birth chart, by a priest of Vedic astrologer. There will be a small ritual and the baby’s name is whispered into their ear, followed by a “welcome to the world” celebration. Rohan’s name was selected before he was even born, so no astrological charts were studied, but he wasn’t going to miss out on the “welcome to the world” celebration!

Both grandmothers

Nevertheless, Rohan’s name is written in his stars. Rohan is a Sanskrit and Gaelic name, we were so happy to find a name we both loved which originated from both India and the British Isles. Funnily enough, he was born on the Christian festival of Ascension Day, a festival some of my family celebrate, and Rohan means “ascension” in Sanskrit.

It was wonderful to have members from both sides of the family with us (my mum and smallest sister came from England). I’m sure, as we live between two countries, this will be a rare occasion. We had fun decorating the stage with photographs of Rohan’s first couple of months of life, his name in English and Devanagari (how did I do?), and all the clothes his family in England and India had lovingly knitted for him. We hired the same florist who decorated the hall for my baby shower (dohale jevan) and he pulled it out of the bag, once again.

First, a large brass weight dressed in Rohan’s clothes was passed over, in and under the cradle a couple of times. It seemed like an elaborate symbolic ritual, but in fact this was just to make sure the cradle was safe. I placed him in the cradle, while his great-grandmother, grandmother and great aunts sang a folk song as he rocks back and forth.

 

The next ritual is a rare one. When a woman is blessed enough to become a great-grandmother (panaji), flowers made of gold are placed on her head. This isn’t a regular occurrence, so my mother-in-law struggled to find golden flowers. Thankfully she did, just in time. Grandma was over the moon. I want to take a gold flower back for each of Rohan’s great grandmothers in England, when we visit.

 

Then we had the sweetest thing, Rohan’s atya (his paternal aunt) and maushi (maternal aunt, my little sister) performed a dance together for Rohan (who had fallen asleep, but we’ll show him the photos when he’s older). My cousin-sister-in-law is a classically trained Kathak dancer, she is such an artist, and taught my sister a storytelling dance. The story of naughty baby Krishna stealing butter. Not only was it beautiful, I am so proud of my 14-year-old sister for being so brave, getting up on the stage and performing in front of so many people!

 

A Hindu naming ceremony can be compared to a Christening, and it was really interesting to see how many people gifted Rohan silver spoons and silver coins. This is also a Western tradition. I’ve seen several people in England request guests at their child’s Christening to write a message to the new baby. We asked all of our guests to write words of wisdom for Rohan, and put them all in a jar. I want to add to the jar on his future celebrations and birthdays and give the jar to him on his sixteen birthday.

Oh, I feel emotional thinking about that!

It was a lovely evening, something I will hold in my heart forever. Thank you to everyone who came, and to those who sent wishes from a far. Welcome to the world, my sonshine.

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40 Indian Names for Multicultural Babies

Naming your baby can be a difficult task, there are just so many things to think about! You want the name to complement your surname, have a significant meaning and not remind you of anyone you would rather forget…

There is a little extra to consider when your baby is going to be born into two cultures, two countries and two languages. Does the Indian name sound like a negative English word and vice versa? Will both our families like it and be able to pronounce it? I imagine this is also important for Indian expats or Non-Resident Indians living and raising babies overseas.

I wanted to share with you my hours research and my 40 favourite multicultural Indian baby names!

20 Girl Names

Indian Name

Sanskrit Meaning

Similar to/Other meanings

Anjali Offering Angela, Latin name meaning ‘Messenger of God’
Anita Full of Grace Hebrew name meaning ‘Grace’
Anushka Ray of Light Russian name of endearment
Arya Noble, Precious Hebrew name meaning ‘Lioness’, a Character in Game of Thrones
Dhara Plant Earth Dara, Irish name meaning ‘Pearl of Wisdom’
Heera Diamond Hera, a Greek name meaning ‘Queen of Heaven’
Janika Mother, Goddess Sita Slavic name meaning ‘God is Gracious’
Kareena Pure Carina, an Italian name meaning ‘Cute’
Lola Goddess Lakshmi Spanish name meaning ‘Virgin Mary’
Maya Illusion, Goddess Durga Roman name meaning ‘Mother Earth’
Meghna Thunder Meghan, a Welsh name meaning ‘Pearl’
Nikita Earth, Temple Russian name meaning ‘Unconquerable’
Rita Truth Spanish name meaning ‘Pearl’
Roma Goddess Lakshmi Italian name meaning ‘Of Rome’
Saraswati Goddess of Knowledge Sara, Hebrew name meaning ‘Princess’
Sheela Good Conduct Shelia, Latin name meaning ‘Heavenly’
Sonia Golden Russian variation of the Greek name ‘Sophia’, meaning ‘Wisdom’
Tanya Of the Family Name of an early Christian martyr
Tara Star Irish name meaning ‘Where the Kings Meet’
Tula Born under the star of Libra Germanic name meaning ‘Strength’
mother-in-law baby naming ceremony | western sounding Indian baby names

A traditional Indian naming ceremony, with my mother-in-law’s cook’s grandson!

20 Boys Names

Indian Name

Sanskrit

Similar to/Other Meanings

Ajay Unconquerable, Invincible A.J.
Anand Bliss Andy
Arun Sun Aaron, a Hebrew name meaning ‘Lofty’
Ashwin Light Anglo-Saxon name meaning ‘Swift, Thai name meaning ‘Brave Knight’.
Biren Lord of Warriors Byron, the romantic poet
Bodhi Enlightenment, Bodhi tree Popular name used by many American celebrities. Similar to Brody
Dharun Supporting Darren, an English name associated with the Oak tree
Dhilan Son of Waves Dylan, Welsh name meaning ‘great sea’
Hans Swan Scandinavian name meaning ‘Gift from God’
Hari Lion, Name of Vishnu Harry, you know, like Potter
Jay Victory English name meaning ‘To Rejoice’
Kiran Ray of Light Kieran, an Irish name meaning ‘Little Dark One’
Milan Coming Together of People Slavic name meaning ‘Beloved’. The fashion capital of Italy
Mohan Charming Moe
Neil Acquirer Gaelic name meaning ‘Cloud’ or ‘Passionate’
Nikhil Complete Nick
Rahul Conqueror of Miseries Arabic name meaning ‘traveler’
Rohan Ascending Gaelic name meaning ‘Red’. It’s also the name of a realm in ‘the Lord of the Rings’.
Samesh Lord of Equality Sam
Sunil Dark Blue Sunny

Many cultures in India wait until the baby is born and determine the name from their astrological birth chart. We decided not to do that because we wanted the name to reflect both cultures in some way. We decided on Rohan’s name whilst I was still in my second trimester of pregnancy. I loved that it was both a Sanskrit and Gaelic (I’ve some Celtic blood) name.

Turns out there that his name was also written in the stars in a way. On the day Rohan was born, we realised it was the Christian holiday, Ascension Day (the day Jesus ascended to heaven) and Rohan means ‘ascension’ in Sanskrit. A special little coincidence!

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