There are many milestones once you have a child and Pasni is one of those big milestones in Nepalese culture. It was one I and AS, were really looking forward to once we had Chhori.
I read somewhere that you just need to have kids and they will grow up so fast and that seemed to be very true in our case already. Time has flown by and Chhori is already over 5 months and ready for her Pasni ceremony.
The Pasni ceremony is also known as the rice feeding ceremony or Weaning Ceremony. I tis also called Annaprashan in Sanskrit which literally means grain initiation. It is the first time the baby is fed solid food. In Newari it is called Macha Junko.
AS parents sent us the sait, the auspicious day and time, for the pasni after consulting with an astrologer in Nepal. Once we knew the date, both of us were busy preparing for it for the next few weeks until the ceremony. As we are in Australia, everything needed to be arranged by AS and me and it kept us busy. If we were in Nepal, there would have been other family members who could have lent a hand.
I am just glad that we could buy everything we needed for the ceremony easily in Sydney. We also book the same priest who performed Chhori’s Nwaran.
Finally the big day arrived. I woke up early that morning and got ready in my red dupatta sari. The last time I had worn the dupatta sari was during our wedding so I was feeling special already. In the meantime AS got Chhori ready in her new clothes and we waited for the priest. My mum also made sagun. apungo and halwa for the puja.
At 8am, the priest arrived and stared drawing mandap for the puja. He began the puja with AS sitting at the mandap and after a while asked me to join as well. Then Chhori joined us later, sitting on my lap and the puja continued.
The first step was to worship Lord Ganesh and the sukunda and all the gods. He chanted mantras and blessed Chhori’s puja outfit and ornaments. The outfit was made of red silk (Taas) embroidered with golden threads and there were gold ornaments like a chain, earrings, bangles (with gold dragon on the ends) and silver anklets (kalli) to keep the bad omens at bay. Some of the ornaments were from my parents and some from AS parents.
We then changed Chhori into her new outfit and put the kalli and bracelets on her and the ceremony continued.
Next it was time to give Chhori the tray which had a book (symbolising learning), jewels (wealth), a pen (wisdom), clay (property), food items (a love for food) as well as a mobile phone (after instruction from priest) symbolising a computer genius :) to Chhori.
It is believed that the first thing the baby touches determines her future path and career. In our case, Chhori first grabbed the book and then the mobile phone so we are hoping she will like computers like her parents.
After that, it was time for the big moment, Chhori’s first solid food. Normally in Newari culture, we have Thya Bu (a big plate with rice, eggs, yogurt, wine, fruits, roti, meat, fish, vegetables and much more) as the first meal but as we were here, it was near impossible to follow that tradition so we used Kheer (rice pudding) instead.
My mum made a special kheer for Chhori with lots of milk boiled longer to make it softer. Everyone fed small portions to Chhori using a sliver bowl and a gold coin. She seemed to like the sweetness and kept asking for more; enjoying her first solid food.
Then the priest blessed the baby and the puja was over but there was still more to come.
The next step was to take the baby to a nearby temple, which for us was round a thirty minutes’ drive. We all hopped into the car and went to the temple in time for the aarti ceremony.
After the aarti, the priest blessed the baby and then, my brother who is the mama (maternal uncle in Nepali) took the baby and went around the temple following tradition.
Chhori was so happy to be out seeing all the lights in the temple.
First my parents put tika on the foreheads of AS, me and Chhori. Then they gave us clothes, fruits, rotis and other gifts.
It was followed by Sagun to us and everyone present. This concluded the morning ceremony for the pasni.
For rest of the day, we had our close friends and family coming over to bless Chhori and to celebrate the day. By the time everyone left that day, it was almost midnight.
It was great day for us to see our daughter growing up and starting to eat sold food. My parents were really pleased to witness their granddaughter’s big day.
In the next post I will write about the party we had for Chhori’s pasni celebration.
Till then take care everyone.
M from nepaliaustralian