The celebration called Dohale Jevan!
Dohale Jevan is a loving Maharashtrian custom that celebrates the impending arrival of a bundle of joy to the family. This Marathi baby shower has unique traditions to show love and affection towards the new mother and to offer food for the mom and baby’s cravings. Here’s a detailed guide on what to expect and what to gift in a Dohale Jevan.
What is Dohale Jevan?
Doh stands for ‘two’ in Marathi; an expectant mother is called ‘dohalkareen’, which means the one who carries two hearts. This ceremony is usually held on an auspicious chosen day in the seventh or the ninth month of pregnancy. Dohale Jevan is also called Oti Bharan; in the north we call it as Godh Bharai; people of the east call it Shaad; in the south, Dohale Jevan is called Seemantham or valaikappu.
Dohale Jevan Rituals
During the Dohale Jevan celebrations, members of the family are invited together on an auspicious day for a special puja. The mom to be is adorned in a new saree and is decorated with flowers as ornaments instead of jewellery. She is usually seated on a swing or a jhoola. The mother to be is blessed with kumkum and haldi on her forehead. Then she is fed the best sweets to share the joy. Her pallu is then filled with coconut and rice grains thrice by elders of the family and she receives it. Families also offer flowers, fruits, nuts and betel nut leaves in the pallu according to their customs.
The special elements that signify Dohale Jevan are the lotus flower, the moon and the bow and arrow. The moon is worshipped in the festival to grant the unborn child a radiant character as bright as its rays. The lotus stands for wisdom. The bow and arrow, called Dhanushya Ban, is the symbol of bravery. A traditional Marathi folk dance performance usually follows the rituals. The dancers’ stage plays and narrates stories and history to the pregnant mother.
The food of Dohale Jevan
The main reason for the Dohale Jevan celebration is to quench the food cravings of the pregnant mom, so food plays a major role in the ceremony. Most Marathi families are vegetarians, so usually a huge fare of healthy vegetarian meals, fruits and nuts are offered to the mom to be. There’s also an interesting ritual with the Jevan food. Various kinds of desserts called kheers are prepared specially for the mom to be, according to traditional recipes that include rice and milk. Some of these desserts stand for a boy and others signify a girl. The members of the family try to guess the gender of the unborn baby through the kheer the mother favours and enjoy.
Dohale Jevan Gifts
Dohale Jevan aims to pamper a mom to be in the advanced stages of her pregnancy and welcome her into motherhood by showing her love and care. It is a good idea to carry gifts that will show your love and affection and ease any fears about pregnancy. Bangles, especially red or green ones are considered auspicious for the ceremony, so you could always buy a box of them. Natural massage oils, plush robes and slippers, comfy maternity clothes, relaxing teas, potpourri or room fresheners and body pillows are some good gift ideas to pamper and calm the mom to be.