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The Annaprashana (Sanskrit: अन्नप्राशन, Annaprāśana, Bengali: অন্নপ্রাশন, Onnoprashon) also known as Annaprashana vidhi, Annaprasan or Anna-prasanam or Anna Prashashan, is a Hindu rite of passage ritual (Saṃskāra) that marks an infant's first intake of food other than milk. The term annaprashan literally means "food feeding" or "eating of food".
The ceremony is usually arranged in consultation with a priest, who arranges an auspicious date on which to conduct the ceremony.
Referred to in English as first feeding with rice, the ceremony is usually carried out when the child is six to eight months old— odd months for girls and even months for boys, when the teeth have begun to appear, though the child may be weaned at a later time.
It is an occasion for celebration, and extended family, friends and neighbours are invited to attend. Rice has become more common in modern times and symbolizes food in general.
After Annaprasan, Mamabhat happens, in the maternal uncle's or grandparents' house. The maternal uncle of the child feeds it rice in this ritual. Mamabhat also happen within that week because in Vedic Hindu culture, the child cannot eat rice until Annaprasan and Mamabhat have both occurred. However, nowadays parents consult doctors and start rice accordingly.
The Annaprashana, unlike many other Samskaras, remains an important ceremony in modern India.
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