The celebrations for Shiv’s 2nd birthday were so great that I hardly know where to begin!
I do know where to begin, actually: the mundan ceremony.
Don’t know what a mundan ceremony is? That’s okay. Neither did I before I was invited to photograph Shiv’s. Shiv’s parents, Nishta and Jill, were kind of enough to send the invited guests a little card with an explanation of what the ceremony involves and what it signifies. Here’s what it said:
“The mundan is an ancient Hindu sacrament marking a child’s first haircut. During the ceremony, the child’s head is shaved to bestow a long life and a prosperous future. As with all Hindu rites, a sacred fire, or havan, is built to invoke the presence and blessing of the divine.
Our family view Shiv’s mundan ceremony as an opportunity to honor the Indian heritage that constitutes part of his multifaceted identity. We also hope this occasion will be a way to bring together many different parts of Shiv’s extended family, to celebrate with you and thank each of you for your love, support, and guidance in our lives.”
The home where Shiv’s mundan took place was GORGEOUS
Meet Shiv – the man of the hour! With his Nani (Nistha’s mother)
Shiv with his mothers, Jill and Nistha (his Gigi and his Mama)Aunt “Coco” (Courtney) with Shiv, Gigi, and Mama
Shiv, clutching his mama’s sari – the sari Nishta’s mom had worn at Nishta’s mundan as a child!Sweetest face!It is traditional to remove your shoes when entering an Indian home
The priest, preparing for the ceremony
Shiv, having a look at the set-up for this very special ceremonyTime for Uncle Sacha to have the honor of performing the haircut. The priest hands over the scissors.
Snipping locks from Shiv’s hair
Only a little of Shiv’s hair was cut in the room where the ceremony took place, as he was taken into the bathroom to properly finish the haircut with clippers. Then he was bathed, as another step of the ceremony dictated. Since electric clippers would be a new experience for Shiv, his mothers wisely had his beloved Uncle Sacha come over and buzz his own hair with the clippers a few days before the mundan, so Shiv would hopefully be more at ease with having his hair shaved.
Shiv looks at the tufts of his hair as they fall to the counter. This was his first haircut, after all.Shiv didn’t even flinch when Uncle Sacha began buzzing his hair. He was very well behaved!GiGi and Mama lovingly hold Shiv during this processAll those little curls!Guests were serenadedA little boy with a fresh haircut and freshly bathed had a change of clothes and returns for the rest of the ceremonyGuests participate in the blessing of ShivA reading by Shiv’s Uncle Dave. He read from R.M. Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”
Aunt Coco read a poem by RumiKate led those in attendance in call-and-response blessings for Shiv
Some of the items used in the mundanCenterpiece on one of the tables where the guests had lunch after the ceremonythe littlest mundan ceremony guest (and such a cutie!)
Guests, enjoying some good Indian food and wonderful fellowship after the mundanShiv and the other young men, playing around the back yard after lunch
Coming up next: Part Two of Shiv’s birthday weekend festivities!