Newborn Traditions in Pakistan
Children are a great gift from God. In any part of the world, the birth of a child is one of the most important and memorable moments for the parents of that child. It is a time for celebration, anticipated and relished by the family and relatives of the newborn.
In Pakistan, the majority of the population is Muslim, hence they follow Islamic rules. When a child is born, he or she is bathed as soon as possible. It is recommended in Islam that the afterbirth (placenta, etc.) of the child should be buried. Everyone is informed of the birth of the baby and parents start receiving congratulations from everyone.
After being cleaned, the newborn is greeted with the sound of AZAAN (the call to Muslim prayer) and Kalimah in both ears, starting from the right ear. It is an obligation and it should be the first thing to practice after the birth of the baby.
After that, any elder or respected person from the family takes honey on their finger and places it in the baby’s palate so that the baby can taste it.
If honey is unavailable, it can be anything sweet. Usually the grandparents of the child are requested to do this but often, when there is no one else, the parents of the newborn can do it. It is a sunnat (practice prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad).
Sweetmeats are distributed by the family to everyone they know and people show their happiness by wishing and giving felicitations to the family. It is also a custom to give alms to the poor. Everyone prays for the baby’s good - healthy life and blessings to the baby.
The baby must be named within seven days after its birth. It is recommended to name the baby after any pious person, in the hope that it will become like him/her. Then it is recommended to name by any name which has good meaning. Also, on the 7th day, the baby’s head is shaved. The nails of the hands and feet of the baby are also trimmed on the 7th day.
It is prescribed to give the value of the baby's weight of hair in silver in charity. On the 7th, 15th or 21st day after the birth of the child, Muslim Pakistanis make Aqeeqa. It is a sunnat of the Prophet, therefore it is strongly recommended. It is a means of expressing gratitude towards God, for the blessing. It refers to the sacrifice of two sheep if the newborn is a boy and one sheep if the newborn is a girl. The meat of the Aqeeqa is divided into three parts, one is given to the poor, one is distributed among family, friends and relatives and the third part is used in the house. It can be distributed cooked or uncooked.
If the family can afford to celebrate Aqeeqa, then they throw a party and invite family relatives and neighbors to share and enjoy the joyous occasion. People bring all sorts of gifts for the newborn and the parents and some people give money too. A poor family that finds it difficult to make both ends meet is not expected to observe the Aqeeqa.
Usually the name of the baby is announced at the Aqeeqa, if it is celebrated on the seventh day. In Pakistan, names are chosen according to the wishes of parents or grandparents mostly and preferably Islamic names are given to the children. In some families, it is a custom to go to a sheikh or an Islamic scholar for guidance. Some people choose the first letter of the name according to numerology or horoscope.
The newborn gets a lot of gifts from both sides of the family, maternal and paternal, such as clothes, toys, cradle and necessary items for the baby. Some people spend very extravagantly. Parents also get gifts from the family, mostly suits or money for the upbringing of the child.
Forty days after the birth, grandparents give the baby a gold ring and put it on his or her finger. When the baby starts feeding on milk for the first time, the parents of the baby give some gift money to the father’s sisters. After forty days, relatives and family friends throw parties for the newborn and the baby’s parents to welcome the child into the family. It is a way of showing their affection and joy, and it depends on how much one can afford.
In Pakistan, it is also obligatory to circumcise the male child, before they reach the age of twelve. It is best to circumcise at an early age, as the child heals quickly and does not suffer much. In contrast to Aqeeqa, circumcisions are not celebrated as an event or function.
These traditions are a part of Pakistani culture, practiced by the majority of Pakistanis at the birth of the baby without transcending any religious barriers.
© Baby-Shower.com. All rights reserved.