A naming ceremony is the event at which an infant, a youth, or an adult is given a name or names. The timing can vary from mere days after birth to several months or many years afterwards. Some of these ceremonies have religious or cultural significance.
ceremony in Catholic culture, as well as in Orthodox culture, and to a lesser degree among those Protestants who practice infant baptism. Though this is true for majority of the Christian population, the traditions of the land they were born might differ. As such in Kerala, the traditional Hindu custom of tying an aranjanam is followed even in Christian families.
Naming a baby is considered to be sacred and therefore is an important Hindu tradition. It involves the immediate families and also close relatives and friends. Traditionally known as Namkaran or Namakarana Sanskar, this ceremony is conducted in an elaborate form on the 12th day after birth. In Kerala, this is conducted on 27th/28th day and called as Noolukettu.
The Namakarma Sanskar is usually held after the first 11 nights of a baby's delivery. These 11 post-natal days are considered as a period during which the child is adjusting to the new environment and thus very vulnerable to infections. To ensure this, the mother and child are separated from the rest of the family during these 10 days where no one except a helper/ mothers mother is allowed to touch the baby or the mother. All festivals and events in the family and extended family are postponed by 11 nights. After those 11 nights, the house is decorated and sanctified for the ceremony. The mother and child are bathed traditionally and are prepared for the ceremony. This is most likely to avoid infecting baby or mother. Relatives and close friends are invited to be a part of this occasion and bless the child. Priests are called and an elaborate ritual takes place