What is Shadh?84
What is Shadh?
Shadh is an interesting Bengali/ north Indian ceremony which is also performed in most parts of the country. In Bengali tradition Shadh literally means to ‘fill the lap’ with abundance.
When is Shadh done?
When a pregnant woman has completed seven months of gestation, the baby is assumed to be viable and in a safe phase. So, the celebration is usually at the end of the seventh month or in the eighth month to welcome the little one to the family and literally fill the “mother-to-be’s” lap with gifts and fruits to bless her with the abundant joys of motherhood.
How is Shadh performed?
While the rituals followed in various parts of the country on the occasion of Shadh may differ, the essence remains the same – to bless the pregnant woman with gifts, fruits and sweets for the impending arrival of new life. The ceremony may include adorning the woman with jewellery, making her wear bangles, filling her lap with gifts and laying out a feast before her. It is also common for the ceremony to be filled with singing and dancing. Being an exclusive women’s ceremony, Shadh is also marked with a fair amount of teasing and fun. It may include some games such as guessing the sex of the baby by the size and shape of the mum’s belly.
The woman is also blessed with gifts to help her prepare for her newborn. Such gifts may include clothing for the baby, auspicious charms such as silver bangles and cash. It is a wonderful way for the family to come together and celebrate the arrival of a new member whilst giving the mother-to-be support at such an important phase in her life.
Tips for an enjoyable Shadh
- It is a good idea to get adequate rest before the ceremony as it may get hectic and tire you out.
- You may want to select a saree or kameez hefor the occasion according to the type of weather. It may get hot and uncomfortable in heavily embroidered brocade attire in the middle of summer.
- You may want to keep a track of what was given by each guest so you can later thank them personally.
- You may want to keep small tokens of appreciation ready for each guest such as pretty bangles or a small set of bindi and kumkum.
- It may be a great idea to hire a woman to create mehendi designs on the hands of your guests.
- The Shadh is a great occasion to exchange stories of pregnancy and you can build a support group of close friends and relatives to help you through the last trimester of your pregnancy.
- While the feast for Shadh is often extensive, and you may have to eat a bit of everything that is cooked, you may want to ensure that you are comfortable with the amount and type of food eaten.If you did your Shadh any differently, we would love to know: please share with other mums-to-be on Maya.