Last weekend, Sujal and I went to a haircutting ceremony. Yes, many of you westerner friends of mine are saying to yourselves, a haircut? Yes indeed. In Sujal’s family there is a special ceremony for boys. A baby boy’s hair is not cut for the first several years of his life. Then when it is time, there is a big event that happens. Everyone comes together to witness the hair cutting, which is both a celebratory and religious event. Sujal had this done when he turned 5. His parents have a very adorable picture of him with his newly shaved head and he’s wearing a little hat and has a garland of flowers around his neck. It’s very cute. This hair cutting was for Sujal’s cousin’s boy, Avi. In Avi’s family, the ceremony happens at age three, but our son, should we have one, will have his at age five.
I tried to look up some information on this event, and it seems that the traditions vary between families greatly. This I learned from many of Sujal’s relatives. Some family, Jain and Hindu alike, don’t do it at all. Here’s what I found on the web, though I do not know how good any of this info is: defining Mundan and Munjan.
I really enjoyed the experience, and I was happy to be invited. The big thrill for me was not only to watch Avi get his hair cut but it was mainly to meet Sujal’s entire family, most of whom I had not yet met. Everyone was very warm and welcoming, something I think we all worry about when meeting the extended in-law family. I got to wear my first Indian outfit, and if I had a picture, I’d post it, but we didn’t bring a camera. We were blessed by some relatives, teased by others, and warmly congratulated on our engagement by all. I really enjoyed chatting with many of Sujal’s cousins, and I met his cousin who lives in Austin, TX, so we will have to visit her next time we stay with my sister. It was a very good day.