What is annaprasan ceremony? If you are not a Hindu or you are not from Indian subcontinent then you may be unaware of this ceremony. ‘Annaprasan’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Anna Prasana’. It is a first rice feeding ceremony of a baby in the presence of parents & other relatives from the paternal & maternal side of the baby. This is the day when the first-time baby is introduced with other food (particularly rice) because before this day baby is supposed to drink milk only. So it is a joyful ceremony. Each Hindu community has its own tradition & rituals to celebrate this day. So here we will talk about Bengali rituals, Bengali annaprasan menu (Mukhe Bhaat) for the baby as well as the guests who are attending the ceremony.
Annaprasan in English?
It is a Hindu ceremony, so no particular English word is available for this ceremony. But still we can say this as first rice ceremony or first rice feeding ceremony.
Mukhe bhaat rituals
In Bengal, this annaprasan ceremony is called Mukhe bhaat ceremony which means ‘Rice in Mouth‘ ceremony.
This ceremony is organized by parents at paternal home or a ceremony hall/ground when the baby is six to nine months old. Some people also organized it at a temple. The baby wears new traditional dresses. Then baby sits on the lap of maternal uncle or grandfather. Then maternal uncle or grandfather feeds the baby. This time the baby is surrounded by all closed relatives & friends of paternal & maternal sides. Everybody feeds the baby with small quantity of food and finally, everybody blesses the baby with rice grains (dhaan) & green young grasses (durba). They also give the baby various gifts.
Annaprasan (mukhe bhaat) menu for the Bengali baby
It is a menu for that six to nine months old baby but that not means only one or two dishes will be prepared for that baby. Nope! You know Bengalis are a foodie so want to train their baby to grow same way, haha. They prepare plenty of dishes & fries. Here is a list of Bengali Annaprasan menu for the baby.
- Payes (kheer or Rice pudding): Most important dish for a Bengali annaprasan ceremony. It is prepared with milk, rice, sugar & dry fruits.
- Rice or pulao: Plain rice or pulao is normally served to the baby on this occasion. Though people mostly feed the baby with payes. But still, rice is compulsory for Bengali anna prasan or mukhe bhaat.
- Five types of fries: Mostly potato, brinjal, pumpkin, bitter gourd & green leafy vegetables are fried to serve on this occasion. Bengalis are very fond of fishes. So fried fish may be in the menu.
- Dal: Plain moong or masoor dal is prepared to serve on this occasion.
- Fish curry: OMG! Fish curry for six-nine months baby? Yes, it is also served on this occasion to the baby. But it is only symbolic. They only touch it on baby’s mouth. Sometimes fish head also cooked to serve the baby, haha.
- Desserts: One tomato or fruit-based chatni is important. Then rasagolla (rasgulla) and any other sweet items are served. Meats are generally not prepared for this occasion for the baby.
Bengali annaprasan menu (Mukhe bhaat menu for guests)
Again Bengali people avoid meat on this occasion. But they definitely include fish in Annaprason (mukhe bhaat) menu for the guests.
- Vegetable Devil
- Onion Pakoda
- Potato Fries
- Fish Kabiraji Cutlet
- Fish Roll
- Fish fry
- Chholar daal
- Bengali Kasha Dum Aloo
- Beguni (Brinjal Fry)
- Echor Curry (Green Jackfruit Curry)
- Potoler Dolma
- Ilish Machher Matha Diye Mug Dal (Moong Dal with Hilsha Fish)
- Rui Maachher Kalia
- Chingri Maachher Malaikari
- Vetki Machher Paturi
- Doi Machh (Fish Curry With Curd)
- Maachher Jhal (Fish Curry)
- Plain rice
- Basanti pulao
- Sweet vegetable pulao
- Karaisutir Kachuri
- Hinger Kachuri
- Pineapple Chutney
- Fruit Chutney
- Tomato Chutney with Dry Fruits
- Ice Cream
- Misti Doi
- Lady Kenny
- Kheer Kadam
- Mohan Bhog
- Mihi Dana
Gifts ideas for annaprashan ceremony
Guests bless the baby and give him (or her) gift. Though there are plenty of options for gifts on this occasion. But here is a short list of gift items what are most popular
- Jewellery (Gold or Silver)
- Utensils (Silver or copper or Bronze/kansa/pital)
So are you organizing annaprasan ceremony? Did you finalize your food menu for that occasion? If not then this posts will help you. You can even share your dream Bengali annaprasan menu (mukhe bhaat) here by leaving a comment below.