Monday, June 23, 2008

Celebrating birthdays

My baby turned one last Wednesday and what a nice day it turned out to be. Initially, we were not sure whether we really wanted to "celebrate" the 18th as her birthday. Back home, we (my side of the family) celebrate only the "star birthday" (the day when same star/planetary position occurs as it was on the day of the birth as per the lunar calendar). I'm not sure how hubby got the same idea into his mind - but good for me and my ideals! Anyway, this year, her "star birthday" is coming on the 5th of July. And that's when the Ayush homam is scheduled too. So what to do on the 18th? We didn't want it to be a non-event.

At the end, we decided to do what everybody does! Hold a small party for all the neighbourhood kids with games and such.

To start with, I began the day with applying "nalangu" to my little one. I remembered my mom religiously follow this ceremony for us on our birthdays, diwali and such. We felt so special at those moments. Wanted Baby Rabbit to feel the same as well. And what better time than her first birthday to start following this tradition?

At first, I wasn't sure what exactly to do! I searched the net looking for how to do nalangu - and at every page, I came across the same thing - the playful activities they do at marriage/wedding ceremonies. Nobody seems to talk about the "birthday nalangu"! I chided myself, took the phone and called my sis. After making her repeat the Telugu song that my mom used to sing while applying the nalangu on our feet a couple of times, I felt confident enough to do it on my own. Of course, you may ask why all this nervousness for a simple activity? Well, its not simple at all - not if you are trying to lay down a tradition to follow that does not exist in your in-laws place. And think! I had to "perform" before them - and do it with total confidence at that. My mother in law is a kind of person who can easily spot a phony/weak from miles away and make them her prey (wow! that rhymes... and I hope my husband doesn't read this post! gee!).

You will be releaved to hear that the Nalangu went amazingly well. Thanks to my daughter for pretending to be totally engrossed with what I was doing to her feet. Couldn't resist capturing those little feet on photo. Here they are...

In case you are wondering who is the big feet, thats her father. You can't apply nalangu sitting only one person. It's customary to have two people sit side by side (like an oppu ku chapan we keep in games I guess! hehe!).

After nalangu, it was time for hot oil bath for the princess followed by her favorite breakfast. Then on to couple of temples for the archanais. Then a furious round of shopping for party hats, decos, whistles, return gifts, game prizes, eatables, etc, etc. The entire afternoon went away in a blink trying to decorate the veranda and gift packing the "return gifts".

The party was a big hit. The kids enjoyed it loads and kept pestering us to organize more games for them. They were even willing to sing and dance to get the gifts! All in all, couldn't have asked for a better birthday for my baby.

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