Why is Valaikappu Celebrated?
Every region, be it east or west, has a function to celebrate the mother-to-be. It is considered to be a very important event aimed at bringing happiness and to lighten the load for the mother-to-be. While in the west it is a social function, in India it is a function with religious importance. In Tamil Nadu, it is called as Valaikappu or Seemantham.
It is celebrated with a great deal of pomp by the family (mostly women, though it is changing in recent times). The most important reason to celebrate Valaikappu is to make the mother-to-be happy. A happy mother resonates happiness to the baby. Also, by the time Valaikappu is celebrated, the baby develops good hearing and the sound of the bangles is said to make the baby happy. It also gives a sense of security to the baby.
Culture-wise, the reason for celebrating Valaikappu is to send the mother-to-be to her parent’s home for childbirth. During pregnancy, the woman stays at her husband’s home. But as the delivery nears, she is sent to her parent’s home where her every wish and craving is fulfilled. She is fed with nutrient-rich food and catered to with love.
The Rituals and Traditions of Valaikappu
A baby shower ceremony is celebrated by women all over India in one form or the other. One thing that is common is that they all have religious significance. In the Valaikappu ceremony, the mother-to-be is dressed up in all her finery and showered with gifts on the occasion of her going to give birth to a new life.
Every culture has its own rituals and timings when it comes to celebrating Valaikappu. Here we will discuss how it happens in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
The stage where the mother -to-be will sit is decorated with traditional puja thali, kuthuvilakku, pestle and the gifts for the mother-to-be which include a new saree, bangles, sweets, fruits and flowers.
The expectant mother is dressed up in a new saree, jewels, mehendi and a flower garland to look like a Goddess. As the function starts, all the women present adorn the forehead of the mother-to-be with sandalwood paste and kumkum. They also take turns placing glass bangles on the hands of the expectant mother. A heavier than usual pestle is given to her to mimic the action of her holding the baby. Rose water is then sprinkled on the head of the mother-to-be to mark the end of the rituals. The women present then sing and chant for the well being of the mother and child.
Another important part of the ritual is to give three different types of rice, namely - tamarind rice, curd rice and sweet rice wrapped in a muslin cloth. The expectant mother is asked to choose one and the sex of the baby is guessed based on that. If she chooses tamarind rice or curd rice, the child is said to be a boy and if she chooses sweet rice, then it is supposed to be a girl. After this, the family takes turns feeding the expectant mother all her favourite sweets and dishes.
Valaikappu is celebrated during the fifth, seventh or the ninth month of pregnancy. The seventh month is said to be ideal since the baby is said to be fully developed along with the hearing sense. The singing, chanting and the sound of the glass bangles can be heard and felt by the baby which is said to give him/her a sense of security and joy. The priest usually fixes the date and the timing based on the panchangam, otherwise known as the Hindu Calendar. The date and the time would be when all the celestial forces work in favour of the mother.
10 Heartwarming Valaikappu Function Gifts for a New Mother-to-be
Bio-Oil Specialist Skincare Oil
Most women develop stretch marks during pregnancy when the body stretches to accommodate the growing belly. Usually, stretch marks are more permanent in nature, but it is possible to reduce them in appearance with the use of good moisturisers. One that has captured the big chunk of the market is Bio Oil which prides itself to be specialist skincare oil. It is a light and non-greasy oil that has plant extracts suspended in an oil base. It is deemed to be safe for use by pregnant women, not just stretch marks but also uneven skin tone which happens during pregnancy. You can buy 60 ml for Rs.335 or 125 ml for Rs.450 from Amazon India.
The Pregnancy Handbook For Indian Moms: A Doctor's Answers To All Your Questions
From the moment it is known that a woman is pregnant, she will be bombarded with well-meaning advice that leaves the expectant mother with trepidation and confusion. That is just the start. More restrictions and superstitions follow as pregnancy advances. The Pregnancy Handbook For Indian Moms by gynaecologist Dr Vinita Salvi, answers all the questions the mother-to-be might have. It also gives her a clear picture of the changes happening in her body and how to interpret them. If you are looking for one gift that would benefit the mother-to-be, this is the one. It is available on Amazon India for Rs.360.
Tasty Healthy Gift Box
Pregnancy is the time when a woman needs to be careful about her diet. Her food needs to be rich in iron and vitamins. It also needs to be low in calories. The tasty healthy gift box from True Elements is the one you need. It contains Antioxidant mix, roasted cheesy onion pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, honey roasted pumpkin seeds and dried blueberries. These tasty treats are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, protein and fibre which are essential for an expectant mother. Priced at Rs.700, this exclusive hamper contains 100% natural products and is packed with flavour.
Prenatal Yoga with Lara Dutta
During pregnancy, every woman feels as though her body has been taken over completely. Here is where yoga can help her to feel more in control and also keep her weight in check. Yoga, which has its roots in India, is fast gaining momentum throughout the world. “Element: Prenatal And Postnatal Yoga” is perfect for every beginner out there. The prenatal sequence is a series of simple and safe movements The postnatal sequence is designed to increase flexibility, relax your body and restore your energy. The DVD is probably the best gift you can give to a new mother and is available at Amazon India for Rs.2,140. Consult with your gynaecologist before you start the yoga practice. However, if you already practice yoga, you can go ahead with it.
Mom-to-be Complete Care Gift Set
Dressing that bump need not be as dreary as ever. Be that stylish momma with the Mamma’s floral print short sleeved dress from First Cry. The dress is made of rayon which in itself is made from tree pulp. Being naturally occurring, it provides ultimate comfort. Priced at Rs.1,849, the dress provides nursing access and can also be used post-pregnancy too. The short sleeves and floor length is a picture of convenience and the floral print helps the mother-to-be stay trendy when everything else stays out of control. Make sure to get the dress in colours other than black so as not to offend the expectant mother and her family.
Babyhug C Shape Maternity Pillow
What every pregnant woman craves other than food is a peaceful night’s sleep. While fulfilling her food cravings might be beyond your control, you can help her get a full nights’ sleep with the Babyhug C shape pillow from First Cry. The pillow is highly flexible and contains micro fibre and tiny foam pieces. Priced at Rs.2,596, the pillow offers the necessary support and ultimate comfort. It can also be used after pregnancy while breastfeeding and as a support in case of c-section. The pillow can also be folded as desired without any worry about it returning to its original position.
R for Rabbit Caramello Grand Back Pack Diaper Bag
Why shouldn't utility, comfort and style go hand in hand? Check the R for Rabbit caramello grand backpack diaper bags from First Cry. These trendy backpacks are a sight to behold and are a thing of luxury. It prides itself in being spacious with lots of compartments to hold everything in its place. There are also insulated compartments to hold the baby’s food warm. It is stylish and trendy, such that, the mother-to-be can use it as a laptop bag too. It is made of strong oxford fabric which accounts for its longevity. The diaper bag is waterproofed and can be used at all times. It is available at a price of Rs.2,240.
Traditional Medicinals, Organic Pregnancy Tea
The expectant mother is probably doing everything she can to assure the baby of its health and safety. You might want to consider gifting her this set of organic pregnancy tea which is caffeine free. Prepared especially by herbalists, the tea helps to support a healthy pregnancy. The Traditional Medicinals, Women's Tea from iHerb contains nettle and raspberry leaves with a touch of alfalfa leaves which work to prepare the womb for childbirth. For just $8.25 or Rs.574, this gift will give her a lot of benefits when she needs it the most. But do ask her to check with her gynaecologist before consuming such herbal products or ask her to do her own research.
Looking for a last minute Valaikappu gift for a loved one? The nutritional hamper by Ferns n Petals is the best option for you. Packed with all the nutrients that only nuts can provide, this gift hamper costs you Rs.2,349. The hamper contains 250 gms of each almond, cashews, pista and raisins, packed in a cane basket suitable for gifting. Depending on the time you order, you can even get it delivered in the same day. Nuts packed with vitamins and proteins are a delicious nutritional supplement during pregnancy.
Pointers to Help You When Selecting Valaikappu Function Gifts
Confused about selecting a Valaikappu function gift? Should it be for the mother or the baby? What should you choose and what should you not? Check out the following pointers and get all your questions answered.
- Certain communities in India do not allow to buy gifts for the baby before it is born. So, keep that in mind when choosing the gift. If you are still looking to gift the baby with something, make sure it is a gift card so as not to offend the family.
- When gifting the mother, make sure the gift is not of an intimate nature. While it might be appropriate if you are friends with the expectant mother, it would not be so in a social situation like Valaikappu.
- Valaikappu is a function where you celebrate the mother and make her feel special. And the better way to do so is to get a gift for the expectant mother. It would make the occasion more memorable. Who wouldn’t love gifts when everything around you is about the baby!
- Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes to the woman. Sensitivity is the first and the primary thing to take care of. Hence, make sure your gift is of high quality and also hypoallergenic.
- If you are buying an apparel, the material should be of a high-quality, breathable fabric like cotton, rayon or linen. It provides with comfort during all seasons and lets the skin breathe without being suffocating. Also, make sure it can accommodate her growing belly without looking like a rucksack.
- An expectant mother feels overwhelmed and most probably never finds a chance to shop for herself. Setting up a nursery and getting everything ready for the baby alone is time-consuming. So getting apparel or skincare kit is the easiest way to gain her approval and to bring a smile to her face.
With these tips, you can put together a gift that is memorable and impressive - something that puts a smile on her face and makes it a good celebration.
Special Day for the Mother-to-be
Valaikappu gifts should be more about the mother and should make her feel special. Make sure you keep her best interests, preferences and inclinations at heart while getting her the perfect gift for this occasion. Instead of getting gifts that the baby can use after being born, get gifts that help the mother through her pregnancy, or maybe even after childbirth. Make her day special by gifting her something thoughtful.