Hindu naming ceremony: Namkaran is the traditional Hindu Indian practice of naming the baby child. Nama literally means ‘name’ and karana means ‘to make, to effect’. The Namkaran is held at home or in a temple where the father of the child whispers the name in the child’s right ear usually after 2 or 3 weeks of the child’s birth. The ceremony usually takes place on the twelfth day after birth. Choosing a Hindu name is a difficult process. Friends and relatives are invited celebrate the namkaran ceremony.
The naming of a Hindu baby is done with a lot of enthusiasm and fanfare. After all a new life is always a joy to any household. The naming of a baby in the Hindus is followed by a few rules known as the Samskara. There are several Samskaras that revolve around a Hindu’s life. In the beginning there is Garbhadana i.e. conception, Punsavana i.e. fetus protection, Jatakarma i.e. child birth, Namakarna i.e. naming of the baby and Annaprasana i.e. feeding the baby with solid food. Namakarna is sometimes done according to the deity that a particular household is following. These names are called theophoric. This custom was common in Persia, Greece and India in the ancient times. One could even locate the lineage of a person by knowing his name. For instance in the Vedic times if Garga was the name of the father, the son would be named Gargi, next the grandson would be called Gargya and then Gargyayana would be the great grandson.
Next the name of a Hindu child also depends on the caste of the family. The Indian Hindu system is divided into Brahmins – the upper class, the Kshatriyas – the warriors, the Vaisyas – merchants and farmer class and the last were the Shudra – the slave caste. Hence giving a name that belongs to the caste was known to be important.
The names are also procured from mythology and as there are hundreds or gods and goddesses in the Hindu religion there is variety, be it a girl or a boy. Every name has to mean something like Atul means cannot be matched, Abhay is fearless, Nityanand is endless happiness and so on.
However in modern times, people do keep with tradition yet play modern. After all with sons and daughters migrating, it can be quite difficult for foreigners to pronounce a tongue twisting mythological name. Hence the custom and traditions are followed these days yet the names are kept simple.
According to the Grihyasutras, there are 5 requisites to selecting a name for the baby. This is the name that the child is will be called. It depends on the culture, religion & education of the family, and should be auspicious.
1. The name of the baby should be easy to pronounce and sound pleasant.
2. The baby name should contain a specified number of syllables and vowels.
3. The new born baby name should indicate the sex of the baby.
4. The baby’ name should signify wealth, fame or power.
5. The child’s name should be suggestive of the caste of the family.