Saree Blouse Designs Back DefinitionSource:- Google.com.pk
Nowadays Seemantham is often combined with a "Valaikaapu" ritual hosted by the pregnant woman's mother. The Seemantham ceremony is more religious in nature as opposed to the Valaikaapu, which is meant to be an informal function. The ceremony itself has its roots in olden times when women would depend on the local midwife to deliver her child. In order to ease her passage, this ceremony would be performed to invoke blessings. However, the traditional ceremony is not of relevance today, since some doctors believe that mothers to be should avoid crowds towards their ninth month of pregnancy in order to avoid infection risks. Rituals such as pouring cold (holy) water on the mother to be may also be harmful to the fetus in some cases.
The original ceremony was also meant to invoke the birth of a male heir, as is seen from the words uttered during the rituals, and some couples therefor prefer not to go through with it if their preference is for a girl child.
These religious rituals may also be performed in a temple to avoid elaborate ceremonies.
(From "Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries")
In Karnataka, Srimantha refers to the occasion conducted in pregnant girls parents home to seek blessings by the lord for safe delivery and happy life. Pregnant girl is presented with various gifts. This celebration in some ways is similar to western practice of baby shower. The ideal goals aside, in these times it has become increasingly display of gold ornaments, lots of foods and extravagant spending ritual. This was not the original intention of the function.
In Tamil Nadu, the Seemantham ceremony marks a woman’s passage into motherhood and celebrates her fertility. Seemantham is a ritual performed widely throughout Tamil Nadu by Hindus, Muslims, and Christians in preparation for a woman’s first delivery, and its primary functions are to satisfy the pregnant woman’s desires, bless her, and ensure a safe delivery and a healthy baby.
Seemantham has become much more elaborate and expensive, according to the women, scholars, and religious figures interviewed by Van Hollen. Food has always been a central feature of the ceremony, but the amount of food has multiplied and sweets have taken on a more important role. Expectant first-time mothers are now more likely to receive cash, gold, and consumer items, like household appliances, and in greater amounts. The husbands’ families often request certain gifts, unlike in the past when guests brought gifts they had chosen. There is an increasing emphasis on displaying food and gifts at the Seemantham, which was not true in the past.
The reinvention of the Seemantham tradition is associated with the rising trend of conspicuous consumption that has occurred along with growing privatization and economic liberalization in Tamil Nadu and throughout Southern Asia. According to Van Hollen (2003:78), Seemantham has come to represent a “convergence of the desires for new consumer technologies and for the display of wealth through ritual,” a trend that parallels the intensification of dowry practices throughout India. She discusses how these changes create a double burden for the families of first-time mothers: “The growing economic burden of Seemantham (and other ritual gifts associated with the reproductive continuum) was compounded by the fact that the pregnant woman’s family in Tamil Nadu was also largely responsible for the medical expenses associated with childbirth. This was particularly true of the first delivery, since the pregnant woman almost always returned home for that delivery but not necessarily for consecutive deliveries” (p. 111).
The Seemantham ceremony is usually conducted by the boy's parents.
In the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, Seemantham is a celebration performed for the pregnant lady on an auspicious day in either the 5th month or 9th month, as #7 is not considered good luck. But, in the Andhra region, Seemantham is performed in the 7th month also (In some places).
Long time ago, Seemantham was performed twice- once by the pregnant lady's in-laws and the other time by her parents. Presently, it’s all combined into a single elaborate celebration performed by the in-laws and the gifts are brought over by the parents (during the first pregnancy only). The gifts include a saree with two blouse pieces, baskets full of 5-9 kinds of sweet & savory food items and fruits for the pregnant woman and towel/ clothes for the man and clothes for the in-laws. The savory items include Sakinalu, Madugulu, sweet items include Arasalu, Garjalu, Laddulu and four kinds of fruits include apples, oranges, pomegranates, mosambi, etc but no bananas. The elaborate lunch or dinner is served by the in-laws.
The pregnant lady and the man are made to sit in chairs facing east. She is applied kumkum/ vermillion and gandham/ sandal, paspu/ turmeric is offered for mangalyam, and paspu is applied to her feet by lady's mother. Then she is gifted with the saree & blouse and a string of mallepuvu/ jasmine flower, all placed in her saree kongu/ wollu. The man is applied kumkum and gifted clothes by the lady's father. Then the in-laws are seated adjacently and also applied kumkum and gifted clothes by the lady's parents. The pregnant lady takes all these gifts adorns herself and goes to the Deity and offers a prayer. Meanwhile all ladies present are offered kumkum and paspu. The pregnant lady and the man come back and sit in the chairs. The lady's mother applies kumkum, gandham, and offers paspu for mangalyam. Then she places 2 green glass bangles on each hand. The mother places 4 kinds of fruits, 5 savory and sweets (total of 9 items) in her wollu/ kongu. Then she blesses her with akshanthalu for safe delivery. The mother then places 5 varieties of sweet and savory food items in the man's wollu. Then he gets up. Now a little girl/ adabidda is made to sit beside the pregnant lady in the chair. Four older ladies perform the same ritual- they offer just one fruit and four savory & sweet items totaling 5 items, to the pregnant lady.
The pregnant lady is then given mangala haarthi by these 5 older ladies and traditional songs are sung. She is assisted in getting up carefully with all the goodies in her wollu intact and taken to the Deity's place where she offers a prayer & places all the goodies (leave 5 foods in the wollu) in a tray (these are consumed by the pregnant lady, man & children). Then the lady is fed with sweets and pulihora rice. She returns with her wollu and takes blessings of her in-laws, husband, sister-in-law and parents by touching their feet, with assistance. Then she places the rest of the food items in her wollu with the rest of the goodies near the Deity.
The in-laws will offer kumkum, paspu, flower and thamboolam/ goodie bags to all the lady guests. This consists of beetle leaves, beetle nut, sweets and a coin (optional).