Introducing a Sikh Infant to the Guru Granth Sahib
In the Sikh tradition a newborn infant is formally presented by the family to Guru Granth Sahib. This occasion may be used as an opportunity to conduct a Sikh baby naming ceremony. There is no set number of days following the birth of a child that the event has to occur. Once mother and child are able to bathe, an infant may be introduced to the Guru Granth as soon after childbirth as is comfortable, or a six week recovery period may be observed.
The Sikh Baby Naming Ceremony
- The family sings or recites hymns of rejoicing and blessing for the child such as:
- A Sejh or Sadharan Paath, is a non-continuous reading of the Guru Granth Sahib from beginning to end. If such an endeavor is underway on behalf of the new born it is read to completion at this time and the family celebrates the Bhog, or conclusion.
- A Hukam or random verse is read from the Guru Granth. The first letter of the verse determines the first letter of the name chosen for the child. A name may be suggested by the one reading and is decided on by the family members. The suffix of Kaur completes the name of a baby girl. The suffix of Singh completes the name of a baby boy.
- The first five and final verses of Anand Sahib, "The Song of Bliss", are sung or recited.
- An Ardas, a prayer of petition, is offered on behalf of the infant and parents.
- An offering of Prashad is prepared either by the family, or at the gurdwara, placed before the Guru Granth, and distributed to those gathered together for the Sikh baby naming ceremony.
Respect and Honor HairIn Sikhism hair is known as Kes. Sikhs are to respect and honor the hair that a child is born with. Hair is essential to Sikhism. Kes is not to be meddled, or tampered with, nor altered in anyway, and should be kept intact from birth onwards throughout life.
Avoidance of Superstitious Rituals
Sikhism does not support superstitious ceremonial rites. No ritual cleansing with water following childbirth are necessary other than are normal in the course of life for sanitary reasons. No one having contact with the mother during or following childbirth, or eating food prepared by the mother is to be considered spiritually polluted. Life and death are considered to be ordained by the will of the divine. Both food and water are considered a life sustaining gift.
Making clothing for the infant from the draperies which cover the Guru Granth Sahib is considered sacrilegious and contrary to the ideals of Sikhism.