It is a ritual for women to get a blessing from god to conceive. This is the first sacrament which followed immediately on every matrimonial union.
It is a ritual for begetting a male child. It is conducted in the third month of pregnancy. If it is the first pregnancy, it can be in the forth month also. The pregnant women consumes one head of barley and two beads of black grain along with a little curd accompanied by religious chanting. Among Nayars and Ezhavas the ceremony is known as 'Pulikuti' a customary rite of drinking the juice of sour fruits by women during the first pregnancy.
This sacrament is performed in the fourth month of pregnancy (only in the case of first pregnancy). Seemantam is conducted for the protection of the mother at the critical period of gestation. If the child is still born, this has to be repeated during the next pregnancy.
Fragrant oil was poured on the mother's head and a line or parting (sunanta) was drawn 3 times through her hair from the forehead upwards with 3 stalks of 'Kusa' grass bound together. Three sacred words called 'Vyathiris' (Bheer, Bhavar, Svar) and the hallowed syllable OM uttered during each operation.
Jatakarmam or birth ceremony
It is meant for the development of the intellect of the child. When the male child is born, the ritual connected with birth is performed immediately. A small portion of a mixture of honey and ghee is given to the new born infant. This rite symbolises good fortune.
Namakaranam ( naming the child )
It is like the baptism in Christianity and is done on the12th day after the birth of the child. It is done by the father who calls the name of the child in its right ear. The mother also joins in certain rituals. Among the Nayars, Ezhavas it is done on the 28th day.
Taking the child for the first time outside the house. The child is usually taken out only in the 4th month. If it is done then, the next opportunity is on the Chorunu day.
Chorunu (Annaprasam )
It is the day on which the first morsel of food is given to the child. It takes place in the sixth month. This is an important ritual among all sections of Hindus .
This is done either when the child attains three or five years. On the tongue of the child the letters "Hari Sri Ganapataye Namah Avignamastu" and all the alphabets are written with a piece of gold. The child is made to write the same letters from "Hari Sri" onwards with its ring finger on raw rice in a bell metal vessel and the child is made to utter each word when it is written. Either the father of the child or an eminent teacher officiates at this ritual. There are also centres which are noted for the ceremony like 'Thuncham parambu' in Malppuram district, on Vijayadasami day during Dussera celebrations. A lot of children get initiated in the learning in temples dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and learning.
In the third year or fifth year of the child, the hair is cut leaving behind, a tuft of hair known as 'Kutuma'.
Karnavedham (Piercing the ears)
This is done with a particular thorn. Butter is applied to the wound. It is applicable to both male and female children.
When the child attains eight years, the wearing of the thread, is ceremoniously done. This is only in the case of the boys. It is taking the child to the preceptor for initiation. Along the sacred thread, the hide of the antelope called Krishnajinam is also worn by the boy.
Praishartham (Learning of Vedas and Upanishads )
The preceptor who leads the boy to himself by conducting 'Upanayanam' teaches him the rules of the scriptures. It is believed that he has become a Brahmin which means twice born and that by undergoing the rituals he becomes a worthy recipient of knowledge.