Rajasthan Custom & Tradition
Birth, marriage and death are
inextricably woven in the pattern of folk customs and tradition.
The cultural cycle commences at conception, passes through birth
and marriage, and continues even after death.The folks consider
barrenness as a great misfortune for a family. Propitiations are
made to gods, treatments taken from wizards, talismans worn round
necks, ants fed daily and many other devices employed to have a
child. Once the pregnancy is established, all precautions are
taken to protect the prospective mother from evil influences.
Charms are fastened round the neck and waist and a knife put
under her pillow at night to avert the evil eye. She is not
allowed to go for near mahua, khakra or khejara tree where
spirits are believed to reside. It is customary that the daughter
returns to her parents well in time for her first delivery.
Festivities start and women assemble to sing songs specially
meant for such an occasion, some
describing the changing behavior
and liking of a pregnant woman
When the birth pangs begin, the woman is
given some butter oil to drink to help facilitate the delivery. A
cow dung cake is kept burning constantly, into which drops of
butter-oil and some incense is cast from time to time and
offerings are made to gods to ensure a safe and easy child-birth.
Promises are made and vows taken that if the child is safely born
parents will take the infant to the deity in due course and offer
obeisance in person by shaving off the hair on head the baby. If
the birth pains are excessive or unbearable, sorcerer’s
help is resorted to. Many women, to checkmate such an
eventuality, start to wear charms prescribed by wizards as soon
as they realize that the pregnancy has occurred.
When the child is born, the naval cord
is cut with a scythe and the child rubbed with wheat flour and
given a bath. The cord and the placenta are buried carefully by
the new father’s sister to prevent their coming in the
possession of any animal, evil spirit or magician. The birth of
the child is announced by midwife, the nayan-wife of the family
barber or by a senior relatives and close friends and ties
strings of mango leaves at their doors and with the help of cow
dung or red earth draws a swastika, a symbolic representation of
Sun, as a sign of good wishes and good news on the occasion
The woman is given a partial bath after the delivery. A regular
bath is given on the sixth or seventh day when she is dressed
ceremoniously and is brought out from the delivery room by the
younger brother of the husband to worship the Sun. the baby,
anointed with oil and lamp-black put on the eye-line and a red or
blue string tied round its waist, is brought out along with her.
Both are then taken in a procession to the village well for
worship called jalwa.
Although the birth of a son is the most welcome event, a daughter
in the family is also considered essential. Parents who are not
blessed with a daughter to offer in marriage feel themselves
unfortunate, as kanyadan- bestowing of daughter is one of the
samskaras- religious obligations prescribed by the tradition
without which one’s life is not considered complete.
Children are named usually after gods and goddesses. The tribal
folks name their children after the genius presiding over the
days on which they are born.