Namakarana (Sanskrit: नामकरण, Nāmakaraṇa) is the naming ceremony in Hinduism and the fifth of the 16 saṃskāras performed by the Hindus to name the child. According to the Grhya Sutras, it should be performed on the tenth or the twelfth day after birth. But opinions of the later authorities range from the tenth day to the first day of the second year.
The Namkaran puja is either held at home or in a temple where the priest offers prayers to all the gods and to the Agni, the elements, and the spirits of the forefathers, and entreats them to bless and protect the child. The child`s horoscope if written is also placed in front of the image of the deity for blessings.
If the naming ceremony is not done on the 12th day, it can be done on the 101 day or on the first birthday. After the ceremony a feast is usually arranged to mark the holy occasion and vegetarian meals are prepared.
The mother is specially honored because she brought the child into the world. All the relatives and the guests who are present bless the child and offer gifts to the child and the parents. The blessings say that the child should grow into being a great person like his renowned forefathers. Though the infant, obviously, does not understand the meaning of the ceremony the parents do; and it helps them to understand the responsibility of bringing up and developing the child into a worthy human being. For others who are present it is a reassuring experience of understanding the dignity and value of human life!