Birthday Celebration in Hindu Culture
Birthday Celebration in Hindu Culture: – Hinduism is a way of life and since birthday celebration in Hindu Culture is an important part of our life, there is a Hindu way of celebrating birthdays. However, in the past few years, the celebration method has been influenced by the western celebration method – cutting fancy cakes, giving expensive birthday gifts and throwing a lavish themed party which is at times of their budget. The culture that we have been bestowed by our ancestors is near to becoming entirely faded. The Hindu population is in the verge of forgetting the real essence of celebrating birthdays. That is why this article is only focused on the true Hindu way of celebrating birthdays whatever might be the current hybrid way of celebrating birthdays.
The Hindu Birthday doesn’t necessarily lie on the same day as the English one because unlike the English one, the Hindu Birthday is celebrated according to ‘tithi’ (day according to Hindu lunar calendar). The birthday in accordance with the tithi is said to be more accurately aligned with the real birthday than the English Birthday. According to Hindu mythology, such birthday is also regarded to be more spiritual than the English one. The reason for this is because while the conception of this (Months and constellations) and their development is done by prehistoric astrologers, priests, and mathematicians according to a certain sketch of God, the English calendars are created by man and their use does not give any pious gain to the person. That is why any human is believed to obtain more Chaitanya through them than through any other.
Every instant after the beginning of the tithi, a person receives sattvik waves which resonates when it comes in contact with its subtle-body and which are essential for the refinement of the body and for removing the black covering of negativity around the person to constantly receive the principles God sends us throughout the day. Not only that but it is also thought that blessings and good wishes bestow the best advantage on the tithi birthday. On the tithi birthday, the position of stars and constellations is same as that during person’s birth. Therefore, the tithi birthday celebration in Hindu Culture entitles a person to gain positive values that were there at the time of its birth.
The day of the birthday person doesn’t start with a 12 a.m. wish. Instead, the birthdays start the early morning at about 6 a.m. when people are awake and fresh. The day of the birthday girl or boy usually starts off with a good whole body bath (abhyangasnan) but before the bath, the birthday person should have a head to toe oil massage. It is usually the parents and elders who apply some oil to the birthday person’s head and back (spine).
After the bath, the birthday person offers namaskar (obeisance) to their parents and elders and takes their blessings. After this, the birthday person performs ritualistic puja of their Kuladevata- the family deity and offers Abhishek- a ritualistic bathing with milk or water. Following this rite, the birthday person chants the name of their Kuladevata for four times. Then the other ritual includes taking a concoction of cow milk, jaggery, and black sesame seeds. Next, the person should turn to the east and swallow the mixture 3 times (achamanam). This should prevent any obstacles the person might face now until their next birthday. Subsequently, the person should remember the names of the 7 chiranjivi’s (by birth): Ashwathama, Mahabali, Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripacharya, and Parashurama or simply say it out loud. Ayushya Suktam from the Yajur Veda can be recited for a long and healthy life. Optionally, Ayushya Homam may also be performed.
If the birthday person has sufficient time then it is good if they go visit the nearest temple or the temple of the god they extremely believe in. And, if the person can afford, he or she should donate food and clothes to the needy. If he or she cannot do that, what he or she can do is feed green grass to a cow and circumambulate (pradakshina) the cow 3 times.
It is not only the birthday person who has rituals to perform birthday celebration in Hindu Culture, the family members have some rituals to be performed as well. The most important of all the rituals the family members are responsible for is to perform an Aukshan (Aarti ) with a lamp lit with ghee praying the almighty for the wellbeing of the birthday person. It is believed that Aukshan performed on a janma-tithi makes a person reserved and he starts to think about what all he or she accomplished in the preceding year and what next he or she has to get in the coming days.
Then, with contemplation on the Kuladevata or Upasyadevata (the main deity of worship), as Akshata (vermilion containing long rice) is to be positioned on the birthday person’s head thrice. Following that, a sweetmeat is given to the birthday person. Prayers to bless the person should be recited as well. Additionally, the family members and friends may gift the birthday boy or girl a gift but the gift has to be the one which is not expected of by the birthday boy or girl, In case, the birthday person does receive any gifts, he or she is supposed to respect the emotion with which it is given and consider it to be a sign of love shown by the God too and not just the one giving the gift.
Birthday Celebration in Hindu Culture, there are some Dos and Don’ts that are to be taken care of. The first one is that the birthday person should remain a Brahamacharya during his or her birthday which means that he or she is not allowed to have any kinds of non-vegetarian foods. Secondly, in Hindu culture, a lit lamp carries a significant level of importance as it symbolizes the spreads light that signifies knowledge that dispels the darkness of ignorance. When the birthday person blows out the candles, the birthday person is actually considered guilty of extinguishing the spring of knowledge and tumbling oneself into a well of darkness.
Additionally, it is not thought to be ideal to play any kinds meaningless games or have celebrities or dancers called upon to display performances of singing and dancing. On the contrary, since for elders, birthday is a day of contemplation, it is a day to recollect memories of the previous year and be thankful to God for all the wonderful memoirs you have collected over the past year. And there are some sins then asking for forgiveness and vowing to not repeat the mistake in front a holy entity is a right thing to do.
In this way, the Birthday Celebration in Hindu Culture is done.
Author- Prajita Shrestha