Godh bharai is a baby shower celebrated during pregnancy to welcome the unborn baby to the family and bless the mother-to-be with abundant joys of motherhood. In Hindi, godh bharai literally means to ‘fill the lap’ with abundance. In Bengal it is known as shaad, in Kerala, seemandham and in Tamil Nadu it is called valakappu.
Thereafter, she is asked to sit on a chair with the sari’s ‘palla’ in her godh (lap). The mother, sister and sisters-in-law of the groom dress up the girl, with jewelry, bangles, cosmetics, etc. Then, along with all the other female members of the family, they apply tikka on her forehead and place gifts in the godh (lap) of the would-be-bride, on top of her palla. While giving gifts, they bless her, asking God to bless the couple with a long and happy married life. After receiving the gifts, the girl touches the feet of all the elder females. They also feed her sweets.
Godh Bharai ceremony is held in India, in the seventh month of pregnancy of an expectant female. This ceremony takes place at the matrimonial home of the woman. Just like the previous ceremony, this one is also held only the female family members of the would-be-father and the would-be-mother. The expectant woman is dressed just like a bride, complete with the jewelry, make up and everything. Thereafter, she is asked to sit on a chair/sofa and place her ‘palla’ in her godh (lap).
Now, starts the Godh Bharai ceremony. All the women attending the ceremony place a gift they have, for the would-be-mother or her baby, in her godh and then apply a tika on her forehead. After that, they feed her sweets & khichri, of rice, moong daal and til, cooked in desi ghee. The mother of the woman also gives her daughter, gifts for her husband as well as in-laws. Then, they whisper something auspicious in her ear – usually their blessings. She thanks all the elder woman by touching their feet. Last but not the least; they celebrate the impending arrival of the child by singing and dancing.