Baby Shower or Godh Bharai in India

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Mom-to-be Sona

Baby shower is a universal tradition that is followed in almost every culture and in all parts of the world. Names are different maybe but the purpose, involvement, and excitement is the same. Indian baby shower is known as Godh Bharai and in Hindi, godh bharai literally means to ‘fill the lap’ with abundance. Indians consider an addition to their family as a blessing from God and so celebrate all such occasions with great enthusiasm.

Baby Shower or Godh Bharai ceremony is performed universally. Yes, the customs and rituals may differ but the basic aim of showering the mom to be with the abundant joys of motherhood, blessings and welcoming the unborn child is the same. Godh Bharai is an Indian term for Baby Shower Like most families, the first born is very special for Indian families. My eldest brother was blessed with the news of an impending grandchild and my joy knew no bounds. It has been a much-awaited news and we went all out to give Sona (mother to be) and Sonu (father to be) a day to cherish and take pleasure in.

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I had very traditional Godh bharai eons ago but now the concept of Baby Shower has ushered and infused new themes and features. We had a pre-dinner celebration and then lunch at a lovely venue. The traditional rituals too were carried out and then the cake was cut and I organized a few games.

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Hennaed Hands

The godh bharai ceremony is usually a time when most womenfolk in the family and friends have a lot of fun and enjoy themselves. The henna artist was hired to apply traditional henna on the hands. The mom-to-be got her hands painted and then all the other ladies to follow suit.  It is an occasion where your female friends and family can go back with some beautiful henna tattoos on their hands.

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Mom-to-be with her friend
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Friends
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Friends

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The guests come and bless the glowing mom with their blessings and gifts which would help the parents to be.In most communities, the ceremony is held when the mother-to-be completes her seventh month of pregnancy. It is believed that after the seventh month, the baby and mother are in a safe period. It is actually seen as the pregnancy will head to the birth smoothly from here on and that is the reason the baby shower is held in the seventh month of pregnancy.

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Godh Bharai Items

Traditionally, godh bharai is a ‘ladies-only’ affair but these days the expectant fathers are hands-on parents and want to be a part of every ritual. My nephew and my brother were present during the ceremony. Customarily the mom-to-be is given an elaborate dress to wear and adorned with jewelry, bangles,and make-up.

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Mother-in-law handing over the gifts to the daughter-in-law
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Applying nail paint

Her lap is filled with gifts, bangles, bindi , red ribbon, nail paint, lipstick,and a scarf along with seven bags of dry fruits with Almonds, Dates, Walnuts, Cashewnuts,Dry Coconuts,Pistachios, and Raisins.The mom-in-law placed all this  in her lap.All the ladies in the family adorn the bride to be. We Punjabis celebrate heartily and hardly need an excuse to break into song and dance.We have songs for every occasion.

In our family, we do not have the tradition of buying things for the baby before he/she is born.It is said to be a bad omen.In the west, it is common to know the sex and guests usually bring appropriate gifts for the baby. But here in India, it is always a surprise and guessing game till the birth. I ordered  a cake in a footprint…one blue and the other pink as we do not know whether it is a boy or girl. After the traditional prayer and Godh Bharai, the parents to be cut the cake. They were showered with blessings by friends and family.

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Baby shower cake
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The proud grandparents-to-be with the parents-to-be

I ordered  a cake in a footprint…one blue and the other pink as we do not know it is a boy or girl. After the traditional prayer and Godh Bharai, the parents to be cut the cake. They were showered with blessings by friends and family.

I then started the games that were cheesy and hilarious. The first one started off when everyone entered the hall. Each lady was given a clothes pin which was pinned to their dress. Throughout the function, if they heard anyone say “Baby” they were supposed to take away their pin. Whoever collected the most pins would be the winner. The name of the game was, ‘Don’t say, Baby’.  I kept prodding them to say Baby by asking them who wears a diaper or why were they here.  Very few tried to get the word out of others, except my friend Sunita, who cleverly coerced the others to blurt it out. She collected 15 pins and was the winner.

The next game was a `Baby word Scramble’ which had 25 scrambled words. Whoever unscrambled them first, would be the winner. I gave everyone the list of scrambled words and a pen. There was pin drop silence while the ladies were racking their brains for the elusive but familiar baby words. My niece Sahiba was the winner and she declared that she deserved the prize as she had the most experience with three kids !

All the ladies were seated around 4 round tables, each with ten ladies. The next game was ‘Passing the Diaper` which is like passing the parcel. I had soiled two diapers with thick chocolate syrup, which actually looked like dried baby poo.  The more realistic the poo, the better the reaction will be and it looked really disgusting. I handed out two soiled diapers and two clean ones. When I started the music they had to pass around the diaper and when the music stopped, the ladies with the soiled diapers were out. Keep changing the diapers after every round so that every table has a fair share of suspense and luck.I told the ladies that the poop was fresh and I got it from my neighbor’s baby. They were all turning up their noses at the dirty diaper as if they had never cleaned a poopy tush . Freakily, my neighbor, Bhupinder was the lucky winner in this game.

 

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Clothes Pins for the Don’t say baby game

 

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Photo Props

 

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Advise Book

 

 

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Chocolate Poo 🙂

 

We had a photo booth too with baby props like its a boy, its a girl, feeders, team boy, team girl in blue and pink colors. There was an advice book in which all the guests wrote down their advise for the new mom-to-be.

.Where there is a celebration, there is food. There were appetizers being served the whole time the ceremony was on and after the games, the lunch was served. Lunch was an elaborate buffet with an array of sumptuous dishes. I was busy with the games and could not capture the food pictures. It was an entertaining and fun-filled luncheon with happy faces all around. Somehow babies do bring out the best in everyone.

Baby Shower Games

1.Don’t say “baby!”

What you’ll need: Clothespins which can be clipped to the dress easily.
How to play: Each guest gets a clothespin to wear as they enter. When all the guests arrive, they should be told that they cannot utter the word “baby.” Whoever hears a guest say “baby” gets to steal her pin. The guest with the most pins at the end of the shower wins

2.Baby Word Scramble

What you’ll need: Paper, pens, jumbled words

How to play: Choose 20 or more baby words and scramble their spelling like –Shower Games—-Howser mages The guest who unscrambles the most words in the least time wins a prize.

3.Passing the Dirty Diaper

You will need- 4-5 disposable diapers, chocolate sauce, and music. Pour thick chocolate sauce in 2 or 3 diapers.You can even use Nutella.

How to Play: Seat everyone in a circle and hand out the diapers. Play the music and ask everyone to pass on the diapers. Stop the music randomly and whoever has the dirty diaper is out. At the end, the one left with the clean diaper is the winner.

4.Guess Mom-to-be’s tummy size

What you’ll need: Ball of  satin ribbon, scissors

How to play: Each guest cuts a piece of ribbon they think will fit around the center of Mom-to-be’s belly, then take turns to see who’s closest to her size. The guest whose ribbon length fits the best wins!

If you want to play the game you can download and print this….

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Baby Word Scramble Game
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Baby Shower Word Scramble Game Answers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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