One of my reader, who lives in Australia emailed me requesting the procedures for Seemantha/Bale Shastra/Valakappu. My friends had arranged baby shower ceremony for me recently and pictures, rituals written down below were observed on that day.
There can be elaborate celebrations followed as per family traditions and customs as mentioned here (click), here and here. Happy beginnings call for happy endings and probably this what we hope for when all the above traditions are observed. A would-be mother is blessed by all and wished her good luck for delivering the baby. Even in west when baby shower is celebrated it means 'showering the blessings to the mother-to-be' and wishing her luck. So East or West all customs share the same idea behind the ritual.
Some of the common procedures followed across the south Indian states for Seemantha/Bale Shastra/Valakappu..
Preparation before celebrating Seemantha/Bale Shastra/Valakappu :
1. Prepare (Make ;) )/Buy (easy) all items that would-be mother likes to eat like chakkuli, Puri unde, kodubale, nippattu, sweets ....list can go on :D
2. Buy a saree (green), blouse piece, bangles (green colored), harishina (turmeric), Kumkuma (vermilion) and flowers. Optional items which may be given are hair clips, rubber bands, nail polish, Kadige/Kajal (eyeliner)etc
3. Any gift of choice.
4. Fruits 5 varieties
5. Add more varieties if you wish to give :)
6. A chair to sit and arathi plate filled with turmeric water
A closeup at all the items that were arranged before arathi........
The mother-to be dresses in the new saree, green bangles and jewelary
She is made to sit on the chair and married women give her harishina, kumkuma, flowers and bangles. Bangles are put on to her hand (..name valakappu or bale todisuva shastra is probably derived from this activity). It is said that it is auspicious for the baby to hear the tinkling sound of bangles that mother wears. By 28 weeks baby listens actively and also senses light. So 7th month is considered ideal for performing this activity.
Gifts, food items are filled in her lap (probably that is why it is called Godh Bharai in North Indian states)
Every member of the family and guests fill the lap with their gifts.
Finally aarthi is given to the mother-to be :), last but not least guests are served delicious food just like this.......