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Tuesday, 6 February 2007

So, what the heck is a Nam Karan Sanskar?

To clarify my previous post: "Nam Karan Sanskar" translates as "Name giving ceremony". It is the Hindu equivalent of a baptism, except there's a whole lot of throwing rice, blowing conch shells, and burning stuff instead of pouring water on foreheads. You can read more about it here:

Note that this suggests it is only a Sikh ceremony, something that several Hindus I know would find pretty insulting... But the rest of the info seems to be correct.

One important aspect of the ceremony is that they tie a red string around each of the parents' wrists (right for father, left for mother). You are not to cut this off, but rather let it wear off. Interestingly, such a red string is also a symbol of Caballah, an ancient Jewish mysticism tradition currently advocated by Madonna, among other celebrities. I've been debating whether or not to explain to my students what the red string around my wrist is, lest they thing I'm part of "that Madonna thing".


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