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The Birth Ceremony

The Birth Ceremony

The birth ceremony is called Pangsai in Tibetan, with "pan" meaning fowls and "sai" cleaning away. The Tibetans believe newborn babies come to the world alongside fowls, and a ceremony should be held to wipe them out so that these babies would be able to grow healthily and mothers recover soon. Such rituals, evolved from a Bon religious ritual to worship the God, have been going on for more than 1,500 years. On the third day of the birth of boy (fourth day for a girl), households tied together through gyido association come for the rituals, bringing such gifts as qingke barley wine, buttered tea, meat, butter and clothing for the newborn. As soon as they enter the house, they present hada scarves to the baby's parents and then the baby. This is followed by toasting, presenting gifts, and examining the baby while offering good wishes. Some families throw in a pancake feast to entertain the visitors.

The newborn baby is not given a name until the end of the birth rituals. Generally, a Living Buddha or a prestigious senior villager is invited, but there are also cases when the baby is named by his/her parents. No matter who names the baby, the naming is performed in accordance with the will of the baby's parents for auspiciousness.

When the baby is one month old, a ritual is held on an auspicious day to take the baby out of the home. Before leaving, black ash taken from the pot bottom is used to blacken the baby's nose to ward off evil. Generally, the baby, donned in new clothes, is taken to the monastery for worshipping the Buddha and also for blessing.

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