Chatti and Barahe – 6th and 12th day Hindu childbirth ceremonies
Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre Co. Ltd. (ICC) wishes to announce the publication of its latest souvenir magazine – Divali 2016, Trinidad and Tobago. The theme of this edition of its annual magazine is “Chatti and Barahe – 6th and 12th day Hindu childbirth ceremonies.”
Among all ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago, Hindus perform the most intricate childbirth ceremony. Some families prefer to observe the birth celebration on the twelfth day, in which case it is known as a barahe and is of greater magnitude than the sixth-day celebration. This is one of the rare Hindu religious ceremonies in which a female [masseuse] officiates.
The masseuse performs rituals such as gently tossing the baby into the air, dragging the new-born in a scoop (“soop”), applying kajal [lamp mascara] to the baby’s eyes, and dotting her forehead [tika] to protect the new-born from being infected by najar [evil eye]. For several days, the traditional masseuse massages the baby and the new mother, and she also attends to the maternal abdominal band. On the evening of the celebration, guests arrive and are served food and drinks. The evening begins a long night of noisy rejoicing when chutney and sohar songs are rendered in Hindi and English. The participation of relatives from both sides of the family emphasises the importance of birth in continuing family lines and cementing family bonds.