In Hinduism, Mundan or Chudakarana is one of the most important and most necessary rituals to be followed. Chudakarana is derived from a Sanskrit word for Mundan and is ideally known as the first hair-cut for the baby.
In other words, the meaning of Chudakarana is arranging the hair tuft. This practice is followed by most Hindus whose parents are particular about performing this act with all the regular traditions.
Mundan or Chudakarana is performed on the child when the little one completes a year. In this ritual, the child should not be older than 3 years of age to do the Mundan.
For this ritual, the entire hair on head is removed, leaving only the Chuda or the Shikha. The Shikha is the crown of the head.
So, what is the true essence of the ritual of the Mundan or Chudakarana?
According to the scriptures, it is believed that hair on the body is basically a continuation of the past life. It has bad traits that are undesirable for the well-being of the current birth.
In Hinduism, Chudakarana is a measure that is adopted to get rid of or reduce the impact of those undesirable traits from the past life.
When the Mundan ritual is done, the one-year-old baby is made to move into the future life or the current life from the past. The Mundan is a metaphoric activity, which symbolises freedom from the past life and its presence of bad traits.
So, where should this ritual of Chudakarana take place?
Chudakarana is usually a big ritual in Hinduism. It is done on the Ganges and especially in places like Rishikesh and Haridwar.
However, today, a lot of families tend to do this ritual in their respective houses by calling a pandit. This ritual is done regardless of the gender. When this important ritual is performed on the baby, the pandit recites Vedic Mantras and prayers. Amidst the ceremony, the conch shells are blown.
What is done after the ceremony?
After the Chudakarana ceremony, the child's hair is offered to the holy waters of the Ganges. It is offered immediately if the ceremony is done near the Holy River, or it can be offered later if the ceremony is done elsewhere.