Traditional ceremony of naming the baby in the Hindu way is known as the Namakaranam (in Sanskrit), Balasare (in Telugu). It is the first real ceremony held for the newborn baby. The naming process creates a bond between the child and the rest of the family and therefore it is a highly auspicious occasion. This ceremony is usually performed on the 11th, 21st, or 27th day or all the way out in 3rd month from the date of birth. Also, it can be performed in an odd month of the baby’s age, but definitely before the first birth day.
In Hindu baby naming ceremony, many aspects are considered while naming the baby.
The Rig Veda prescribes the formula of giving a name with four components: the nakshatra (birth star) name, the name of the deity of the month, the family deity's name, and the popular name by which the child will generally be addressed. In certain communities, the first child is named after the paternal grandparent. Some name with the stars (nakshatra) that the baby was born, some name according to the alphabet associated with the nakshatra (example, for ASWANI- choo, che, cho, la like Choodamani, Chetan, Choti, and Lata). Very important though, the name is carefully selected from the names of Gods, auspicious objects, pious rivers that have a specific meaning. Belief is, if the name sounds good, the baby will get positive influence being called with such a name.
The mother is specially honored during the naming ceremony because she brought the child into the world. Parents ascertain a lot of importance to the ceremony as they greatly feel the responsibility of bringing up and developing the child into a worthy human being. The Namkaranam puja is either held at home or in a temple where the priest offers prayers to all the gods and to the Lord Agni (fire God), the elements, and the spirits of the forefathers, and entreats them to bless and protect the child.
During the naming ceremony, all friends and relatives are invited. They get a chance to see the baby for the first time. Relatives and friends sing songs and celebrate the arrival of the child with fun and flavor. Usually in South India, the father spells the name out very first time and the name is written on rice spread on a silver or gold plate with a golden ring. Right after the name was given; the golden ring is dipped in milk and touches it to the baby’s lips with a mantra (like MADHURA VAAKBHAVA) by the father and mother. Elders in the family also perform the same. It is a moment of all-round happiness if the baby smacks its lips. Both the grandmothers give gold to the child (usually, either a chain or a bangle).
After the ceremony a feast is usually arranged to mark the holy occasion and only vegetarian meals are prepared. As per Hindu traditions, performing these rituals during the baby naming ceremony is a must to make the future life of newborn baby prosperous.
"A man has three names: the name he inherits, the name his parents give him, and the name he makes for himself."
“Integrity: A name is the blueprint of the thing we call character. You ask, what’s in a name? I answer, just about everything you do.”