7 - Annaprashanam Samskara
Annaprashanam is the seventh Samskara in Vaidic Tradition that marks an infant's first intake of food apart from mother’s milk. The term Annaprashanam means eating of food.
The ceremony is usually arranged by consultation with a priest who selects an auspicious date on which it is to be performed. It is usually carried out between six to eight months after the child is born or when the teeth begin to appear.
This day is special since till this day the child has only consumed food from the mother. In the womb, the child receives nutrition from the mother. After the birth, the child is fed only mother’s milk. Annaprashanam Samskara is performed to mark the day and ensure the child that mother earth will now be nurturing you.
It is an occasion for celebration. Extended family members, friends and neighbors are invited to attend.
Ideally, rice pudding is fed to the baby while reciting prasad mantras as a part of Annaprashanam Samskara.