India is a land of rich culture and traditions where several religious rite are performed from ages. One such religious rite in Hindu religion is Tonsuring of newborns. Basically, it’s the act or process of cutting hair, especially as a religious rite or custom.
Most of us perform tonsuring as a custom that has passed down from generations. We never delve deep to find out the real reasons behind it. Just carry it out as our elders did it for us.
My munchkins had this ritual at Tirupati in the first quarter of the current year. A common ritual rite in the temple town where thousands flock every day to tonsure. Before heading to Temple Town for the same, few questions started pestering me. Is tonsuring necessary for such tiny tots? Can’t it be delayed? As I knew they would cry their heart out during the process. I started looking out for answers that could satisfy a worried mom. Here, are my findings that convinced me, the scientific reasons camouflaged under the mandatory customary practice in Hinduism for newborns.
MY FINDINGS FOR TONSURING (Facts and Myths)
1. It’s not only carried in Hinduism but even several other religion like Buddhism, Islam, Jainism. The tonsuring of Newborns also known as “Chudakarana” in Vedas is widely practiced in Hinduism. In other religion, it’s more of a cleansing action for a spiritual journey.
2. The most common myth regarding tonsuring is that it helps in the growth of the hair. It was backed by the scientific study done by Lynfield and Macwilliams. Repeated tonsuring does not help in the growth of the hair.
3. It is believed that the tradition of removing hair from baby’s head is symbolic to shunning all negative traits and experiences from previous birth. Mundan, therefore marks the beginning of new life.
Scientific Reasons that convinced me as a Mom.
- Shaving head stimulates the blood vessels and nerves on the head. It helps in brain development . However, it is yet to be proved.
- Mundan is also done when child is teething. It is a common belief that during teething baby feels a lot of heat and heaviness in head. Removi ng hair can bring comfort to the baby.
- Shaved head exposes the scalp and helps to air the follicles. It is useful in infected scalp condition like – plica polonica, piedra, and pediculosis.
- It is a great way to keep the head of the baby cool during summer.
- Lastly, shaved head is easy to manage. It is not prone to lice infestation and can be washed conveniently.
Pre and Post Preparation for Mundan / Tonsure
Pre – Preparation
- Sterilized or New Blade – Preferably use sterilize blades or trimmer as infected ones can cause HIV. To be on safer side use new blades or trimmer.
- Trained Professional – This is one important aspect as trained hands are usually fast and before the discomfort to the baby the job is done. That was one of the reason why we chose Tirupati for tonsuring ceremony, the professionals out there shave hundreds of people in a month.
- Choose Right Season– Prefer moderate weather season that is in September or October, when the weather is neither too hot and sultry nor cold.
- Make Baby Comfortable- Always feed the baby well before ceremony to keep him at calm or else they go cranky. Make them wear breathable and comfortable clothes. Take a break during the ceremony if baby is very uncomfortable. Go for a stroll or nurse them.
Post preparation –
After Mundan or tonsuring, give bath to your little one with Luke warm water to remove all stray hair. Apply sandalwood and turmeric paste which acts as an antiseptic and provides cooling effect to the scalp. I preferred homemade paste as turmeric and sandalwood both are difficult to get in pure forms.You can prefer buying both from any Govt. outlet. especially sandalwood.
My Experience at Tirupati
Before wrapping up this post would love to share my experience of tonsuring of my kids at Tirupati. Apart from pilgrimage, Tirupati is famous for Tonsuring heads in humongous number on a daily basis. You not only get professional hands for conducting this ceremony but the arrangements made by the Temple board are also quite hygienic and clean. Everything is well organised and on fixed price. No hassles from middleman or agents. You won’t face any language problem if you know English well. All you have to do is get tickets for tonsuring available at V.I.P tonsuring lodge. The Temple board would provide you with brand new blades, professionals and well maintained rooms for tonsuring ceremony.
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