SIGNIFICANCE OF ANNAPRASHAN:
“Annaprasana (Anna Prashchan): The term “anna” means ‘food’ mainly ‘boiled rice’ and “Prasana” means ‘eating’ specifically ‘the first feeding of a child’. This ceremony is done when the baby is of fifth to eight months old . It is done at that age because at that period the child gains the strength to digest the cereals and rice. In some special cases, where the child is found to be very weak,the time can be postponed further.It is usually done in even months for boys and odd months for girls.
The Annaprasana comes in the sixth month when the child is given solid food for the first time. Mantras are recited and oblations are offered to the various deities.”
During the ceremony, some items are set out on the floor: some fruit, books, money, flowers, a pen and one gold jewelry. The baby is set before them and whatever the baby crawls to determines their future path in life -
A priest conducts this pooja
After a muhurta has been selected for the ceremony, friends and relatives are invited. Food is cooked to the chanting of appropriate Vedic mantras. The father feeds the child as the priest recites the Mahavyahritis. The child is then placed on kusha grass before the fire. Next, the father offers oblations to Agni praying that the child should be strong and well spoken. He also prays for a long, happy and contented life, for fame, and for a broad vision for the child.
Mantras are recited and pujas are offered to various dieties.
The object of the ceremony is to pray to the gods to bless the child with good digestive powers, good thoughts and talents. offerings and prayers are made to the goddess of speech and vigour so that the child’s senses have their full gratification and live a happy and contented life.