‘ANNA’ means rice and ‘PRASANA’ means to enter.Annaprasana means introducing solid food to the child, i.e. feeding rice or solid food for the first time. After this ritual is carried out, the child now can be introduced to different foods. Annaprasanamis done after the ‘Namakaranam’ ceremony, and is considered auspicious because the baby can now have solid foods.
Annaprasanam is held when the child is around six months and before he turns one and also when the child is ready to convert his diet from liquid to solid. For boys it is held on even months like a sixth or eighth month and for girls it is held during odd months like fifth or seventh month. As per the Grihyasutras, Annaprasanam should be performed when the child is between six and seven months old, and not at all younger than 4 months.If the child is weak, the ceremony can be performed later. However, this ceremony must be completed before a child’s first birthday – as it is not wise not to feed the child solids till then. A child who has sprout his first set of teeth is ideal as it signifies that the little one’s stomach is ready to digest the food.
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