Is Mundan Ceremony Effective for Hair Growth in Babies?

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What is mundan ceremony and what is its significance?

Does the mundan ceremony help my baby?

When should I conduct my child’s tonsuring ceremony?

Should you do mundan for hair growth in babies?

If any of the questions mentioned above has crossed your mind, then you should read ahead.

When it comes to raising kids in this age we are often at confused due to the old traditions and the new ideologies. Often they clash, leaving you wondering whether you should do a particular custom and whether there is any truth in what is said about the said custom.

I am a person who loves to keep up our traditions. I follow most traditions in a way that it does not cause any harm for my family, society or me. I always try to find the positive side of these traditions.

Through this post, I would like to tell you readers about my take on the traditional mundan ceremony, whether it has effects on the hair growth in babies and how I felt like after performing the mundan ceremony of our son Rithvik.

Can hair growth in babies increase with mundan? Well let’s see in this post.

mundan ceremony

Before heading into this discussion I wish to say that I am not here for a debate. I am just expressing my opinion and not forcing my views on anyone. So that means, that this is what I feel about this tradition and I am not forcing you to do it.

Everyone has their own reasons to do it/ not to do it. And I strongly believe in the live and let live policy.

What is mundan ceremony for babies and kids?

India is a land of traditions and customs. Chudakarma sanskar, mundan, chudakarana or tonsuring is the ceremony of cutting a child’s hair for the first time. It is performed usually when the baby turns one year or three year of age.

By this age, the skull bones of the baby would have fused and come together.

Forefathers recommend that the earlier it is done the better.

In some communities, if due to some reason, the ceremony has not been performed when the child is one or three years old, then there are certain other years when it can be done. The other ages at which the tonsuring ceremony can be done are the eighth or the sixteenth year.

By this age, the skull bones of the baby would have fused and come together. Forefathers recommend that the earlier it is done the better.

In some communities, if due to some reason, the ceremony has not been performed when the child is one or three years old, then there are certain other years when it can be done. The other ages at which the tonsuring ceremony can be done are the eighth or the sixteenth year.

Belief and significance of mundan:

The hair on child’s head when he/ she is born is formed in the womb of the mother.

In ancient times it was believed that the hair on a baby’s head has bad influences on his development as he grows. Mundan was performed because of the belief that it helps in eliminating the negativities from the previous life. In other words, you are letting your child start off his new life with a clean slate.

The significance is to draw attention of parents towards the mental and spiritual development of the child and to keep the society informed about the progress that the child is making.

Ayurveda behind Mundan ceremony:

Ayurveda recommends shaving hair as a remedy to cure ringworm and head lice. Parents feared that shaving might cause head injuries, cuts or wounds in babies.

So both necessity and fear gave rise to mundan ceremony. But it was done by seeking divine blessings and it became an important ceremony in many Hindu traditions. This is done as the parents thought that if they seek the blessings of God, he would keep their baby from getting any nicks or cuts during the mundan.

Myths about mundan ceremony:

There are quite a lot of interesting myths about mundan that I have heard from my grandma and others. I do wonder how a haircut can do these much magic on babies.

  • Kids will get a long life – Shaving your child’s hair will give your child the boon of a long life. I bet you didn’t know it was this easy!
  • Helps during teething– Helpful if a child is going through teething stage, as it is said that it makes them less cranky and relaxed.
  • Better hair growth of the child – Performing the mundan ceremony is said to improve the child’s hair growth and give them a head full of hair!
  • Improve the strength of the nerves in the brain – How does that happen, I do not know, but that what they say!
  • Blood circulation– Tonsuring the hair is said to improve the blood circulation
  • Protection from the evil eye of others – the hair improves the appearance. Which is probably people are willing to pay a fortune for hair treatments! Removal of hair is would mean that the baby loses something that makes him attractive and thus he gets protection from evil eye.

How mundan is performed?

Every community has their own ways of performing the mundan ceremony. Some perform it at home, some do it at the temple and some perform it at holy riversides. The new gen parents also get it done at salons or beauty parlors. Take your pick as there are a lot of options available.

If you choose to go the traditional way, then a date needs to be fixed. Usually you approach a priest, who fixes an auspicious date and time for the mundan ceremony and on that date the baby’s hair is shaved off.

A barber shaves the child’s hair. Once the hair is shaved off a paste of turmeric and sandalwood is applied on the head of the child. This is done as it cools the head and heals the cuts on the head in case of any mishaps. This paste acts as a natural antiseptic.

Some families have a custom of offering the cut hair to a holy river. I haven’t found the exact reason for this custom yet but this is something not everyone does. In olden days Hindu life revolved around temple premises. The barbers usually did their work on the banks of rivers. They used to cut hair and throw the hair into the running water. Maybe that practice is followed even now.

Some people offer the cut hair to the temples. Big temples like Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh is one such place.

Mantra recited during chudakarma:

The following mantra is recited for blessing the child. It is done either by the grandfather or maternal uncle or family priest. It is as follows:

Nivartta –yaamyaause-annaadyaaya prajananaaya | Raays-poshaaya suprajaatvaaya suveeryaaya || (Yajurveda)

Meaning:

Oh Child! I perform the shaving ritual so that you may be blessed with long life! I perform the ritual so that you may be able to digest the food you eat! May you be productive in what you do! May you be blessed with a happy family and children in your life! May you be meritorious wherever you go!

How we performed Rithvik’s mundan ceremony?

Now let me tell you how Rithvik’s ceremony went. The mundan ceremony was performed for Rithvik when he was around 1.5 years of age. It was during the summer season. Rather than approach a priest, we asked my father in law to fix the date. He is good in astrology and so he fixed an auspicious date for the ceremony.

Since my hubby’s native place is Tirunelveli, we decided to do the mundan at Tiruchendur temple because of the proximity and less travel time. Just before the ritual I fed Rithvik well so that he wouldn’t be cranky during the ceremony. The mundan was performed in a building near the temple.

The experienced barbers sat there in a line alongside each other and carried on with the shaving. You should have seen the number of people who has come for doing their mundane. The barbers there don’t use electric shavers, though I was scared initially, I was soon amazed at their dexterity and finesse.

We had purchased a new razor for safety resaons. We handed that over and the barber put used the new razor provided by us for shaving Rithvik’s hair.

My little one was made to sit on my brother’s lap as per our tradition, for the ceremony but Rithvik kept crying his eyes out. We tried everything to calm him but nothing worked. So we took small gaps between and he was transferred to my hubby’s lap. That helped and we were able to continue.

The professional barber finished up his work within 5 minutes. There was not even a single cut or wound after the shave.

Near to the building a nali kinaru (small well) is there for devotees where we gave Rithvik a quick bath after the hair cut. After that turmeric and sandalwood paste was applied on his head. Then he wore a new dress and a chain gifted by his grandparents. We visited the temple, had a sumptuous lunch and shopping after that.

Is mundan really effective to promote hair growth in babies?

From my experience considering the before and after mundan hair growth, my baby’s hair growth is good. It is scientifically proven that the hair follicles don’t really multiply even when the head is shaved.

Though mundan doesn’t help to boost hair growth in babies, let us see the advantages of mundan for babies.

  1. Comfortable for babies in warm months

My little one had a good growth of dark black hair before his first haircut. This isn’t too bad, but the problem is that his head sweats a lot. This leads to colds and sniffles during summer. Not to mention the irritation.

Shaving the hair during the summer months made my little one’s life more comfortable. No sweating and smell of sweat. He felt less cranky and the heat didn’t bother him so much.

  1. Head bath made easier

No need of shampooing after shaving off, so no more crying and tears from babies during head bath. Thus made my task easier for a few days. If your baby dreads head bath, then you could try this.

  1. Happiness of parents and grandparents

My parents and in-laws never force or ask us to follow any traditions or customs that is followed in our family. That is the best part about them and we love this aspect of theirs. They understand that at times it isn’t possible for us to follow certain customs and traditions.

That being said, Rithvik’s mundan was completely my own decision. I felt deep in my heart that our parents are longing to see their grandson’s mundan ceremony.

Our parents and grandparents will really feel very happy when we honour their wishes, even if they may not voice it out loud. After all we will be always their babies, no matter how old we grow!!!

  1. Family bonding

As I stay abroad, the family get together is very rare. So ceremonies are always an opportunity to meet together, have fun and make decisions together as a whole family. It is also an opportunity for the grandparents, uncles and aunts to pamper their grandkids. In my case, Rithvik had a lot of fun with our family as he was the star and all eyes were on him.

  1. Developing communication skill for babies

Big family outing includes lots of talks, plays and songs. This will definitely help in developing good communication skills of our babies. It will help expand his vocabulary and make him grasp the nuances of communication.

  1. Relaxation

The whole family was with us. So you can guess how our loved ones will pamper the little ones. So you don’t have to worry about your child/ children. You can just relax in your traditional attire. Try not to stress about every little thing and enjoy the moment.

  1. Traditional toys

I found a lot of our good old-fashioned toys near shops in temple premises that we won’t ever get in big shopping malls. We often forget these toys helps mould our children. With the arrival of big brands, these good old toys were forgotten.

Fortunately, Rithvik was loaded with those traditional toys by his grandparents. It also triggrered a wave of nostalgia, seeing him play with the toys I played with as a kid.

  1. Photoshoot

We took lots of solo and family pictures with normal and fun poses. Memories cherished for a lifetime. As we stay far from our family, it helps when you feel a bit homesick. It is also reminder of the fun we had and will have in the coming years.

Negatives of the ceremony:

The one and only negative thing I found in the whole ceremony was that Rithvik cried while getting his head shaved. This made us really sad as he is usually all smiles. But during the ceremony, he was not his normal self. But it depends.

Some babies won’t cry. I noticed many babies smiling during this ceremony. If you are lucky enough your little one won’t cry during the ceremony.

I was worried that all that crying will make the barber lose his concentration. But fortunately they are all very experienced and have dealt with many crying babies. This way they even give you tips to calm your child down during the ceremony.

Things to keep in mind if you choose to perform chudakarana or mundan:

After having successfully done my little one’s mundane, here are some of the things that I thought I should tell you.

  • The season – It is best to perform mundan during summer, it helps to provide some relief during the harsh summer months.
  • Location – If planning to do in temple or other holy places, try to find a nearby place so that you can avoid long travel with the baby. If your baby doesn’t like to travel. That coupled with the whole ceremony can become a bit too overwhelming for him.
  • Stay – If you have to travel long distance, it is advisable to stay in a neat and good hotel. Go ahead and book in advance if required, you don’t want any last minute hassles once you get there. Reach a day prior so that the baby is well rested, this means he won’t be cranky.
  • Keep all baby things handy – Keep his/her baby bag well stocked. Pack his towel (he is going to take a bath there, after the ceremony), change of clothes, feeding bottles, drinking water (why take chances), wet wipes, tissues, diapers, food and snacks for the baby. You can pack his favourite toy too to calm him down if he gets too cranky.
  • Feeding – Ensure that the child is fed before the ceremony. A baby who is full is likely to be more content.
  • Keep him engaged – While the barber starts of the mundane, try to keep him engaged with his toy, story, rhyme or game. This will shift his focus letting the barber finish the job at hand faster.
  • New razor – Safety first! Give the barber a new pair of razor for mundane. You do not want to take chances here. Also ensure that he uses the razor you provided.
  • Bath – The child must be given a good bath just after ceremony to wash away all the hair from his or her body. In olden days, the practice was to take a shower immediately after a haircut. The person who gets his hair cut was not even allowed inside the house until after he took a shower. There were no salons or beauty parlors with their fancy equipment to get rid of the hair after a haircut. Entering the home directly after a haircut meant getting all the hair inside. This could find its way to the food too. Even nowadays, many people follow this practice.
  • The paste – Do not underestimate the power of turmeric and sandalwood as it can be very effective after tonsuring.
  • Say cheese – Last but not least keep your cameras ready for the ceremony. Click loads of pictures and preserve those wonderful moments.

To summarize my whole mundan experience, the hair growth has improved in my son’s case but I have also heard of cases where it didn’t benefit them at all. Had my son smiled through the whole process, it would have been better. But it helped during the scorching summer months.

For older kids, do tell them about the process in advance so that they do not feel scared on seeing the barber with his razor. Also some kids won’t be too comfortable with the idea of losing their hair. Tell them how it will help them. Feel free to use his/ her cartoon characters to reinforce your story and explanation.

Like I said in the beginning, I have merely stated my experiences and am not forcing my views on anyone. In case you would like to get your child’s mundane done for religious reasons or personal reasons, you know how to go forward.

Did you do mundan ceremony for your baby? Did he or she cry?

Did it help in boosting hair growth in babies? How was the whole experience? Kindly share with us in comments.

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About Author

A darling wife of Vijay Varadarajan and a lovely mom to Rithvik. A Biotechnology post graduate, Jayalekshmy quit her job the very next day she became pregnant. Realized her passion for cooking after Rithvik came into their life and now loves to experiment different cuisines. Her other interests are home interior decoration, gardening, internet surfing,a bit photography and whatsaap chatting with her loved ones.

24 Comments

  1. My baby 2 yrs old developed cold next day after we did mundane. So, I was skeptical to apply the paste as chandan has cooling effect. Could you please advice? Also, how many days should the paste be applied?

    • Hi Priti
      It’s normal for some babies to get cold after tonsuring if they cry a lot during the whole process followed by head bath from a different water source.sandalwood paste is applied soon after the shaving for its antiseptic nature in case there is small cut.its usually applied only for a day.

      Regards
      Jayalekshmy

  2. i am planning for my daughter’s mundan in dusshera…she will one year and 9 months old at that time..will this be counted as 1st year or second year?..please help

  3. Some time back, I had searched for more info regarding the usefulness of the ceremony, safety and other stuff. Glad you covered it all.

  4. Hey jaya
    My baby Hasmitha is 8 months old but my husband and fil said no mundan ceremony in their customs so wont take the hair of baby…but my mother side we have this tradition..after reading this post and comments fron my family i am worried does it affect her if we dont..but strictly i got no from my hubby…wont she hav healthy growth in her hair

    • Hey Anitha,
      No worries yaar .It is scientifically proven that the hair follicles don’t grow when the head is shaved.as i told in this article my baby had good growth of hair before mundan and after mundan …So its not necessary that you have to compulsory shave your baby’s hair…..happy parenting

      • Thanks Jaya
        Your reply gave me sign of relief.:-) now happy about it but i miss her reaction when she has mundan….babies r cute when they say mudi kanom .

  5. Pingback: Is Mundan Effective for Hair Growth in Babies? | KIDSBLOG.IN

  6. Great post jaggu:-)
    Very informative, explained in detail
    during gokul mundan v took him to the saloon he cried a lot and v came bck, after few days we went again we made him sit by distracting his attention. ..it all ended up in crying. .and at last v made his hair short…
    after cmg here in doha …as he is salman khan fan 😉 his song was played so that he cld sit 😀

  7. Jaya,
    Loved your post! I had no knowledge about the hindu rituals and traditions but your write-up covers almost the entire mundan ceremony. I got Jianna’s head shaved when she was 1.5 years old during summers. She sweats a lot too and also develops prickly heat fast. Best part is I love bald babies…. they look so cute!! 🙂 🙂

  8. Well in linu’s case the curly hair were all gone.. Now she has perfectly straight hair.. I have heard the other way round as well.. I took her to a salon when she was 1.5 yrs and the entire process happened while she was sleeping. I didn’t know abt applying turmeric n all 🙂 thanks jaya 🙂

    • Hi Rosh
      I was laughing after reading your comment. What was linu’s expression once she got up seeing her bald head :-).Even my niece got a straight hair after shaving off..before that she too had a very curly hair.

      Thanks da 😉

  9. Hi Jayalekshmy,

    I recently did mundan for my 1 year daughter Vaishnavi. She was silent in the beginning but cried towards the end. It was done at Subramanya temple, Pazhani . Your article is very informative. Thank you and keep writing 🙂

  10. Nice article!

    You covered each and every aspect of the Indian tradition.
    Your article is descriptive and informative.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Please keep on posting good article like this one.

    • Hi Yash,

      Thank you very much for such a positive feedback and encouragement.You are always welcome.It’s first time I am getting a feedback from a dad parent 🙂 Sure will keep posting good articles.

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