Some type of toddler dating ritual
So when his first child, Maya, was born a year ago, he and his wife Jennifer decided they would give her a traditional Hindu welcome.
"It was an important way for me to keep my traditions alive," Sivaraman says.
"The one thing we didn't do was shave Maya's head," Sivaraman says.
Typically, both Indian boys and girls have their heads shaved and their ears pierced on their first birthday.
His family is Tamil Brahmin Iyer, an Indian subgroup that is defined along ethnic and caste lines, so his daughter's ceremony was based on those customs and practices.
On the day of the ceremony, Maya's grandmothers and some of Sivaraman's female cousins placed bangles and anklets on her hands and feet.
They did, however, hold a more complex ceremony when Maya recently turned 1.
In the United States, baptism and male circumcision are two of the more familiar baby traditions, but there are many others that are less visible.D., a Seattle-based clinical psychologist and identity development expert."They are about knowing where you come from." For parents, birth rituals and ceremonies provide an immediate sense of connection as well as inclusion of the child into the clan, tribe or community, Root explains.Sivaraman and Jennifer then spoke her name into her right ear. Sivaraman and Jennifer then wrote her name in a plate of uncooked rice.
"We say the name so that it registers in the baby's brain and the parents' voice pattern is also registered," says Sivaraman's father, V. "If we would have been in India, the ceremony would have been about four hours long, and a priest would have been present," Sivaraman says.A priest performed Maya's ceremony at home, chanting mantras in Sanskrit and lighting the traditional fire, fueled by ghee (clarified butter).Maya wore a silk dress given to her by the paternal side of the family, and the house was filled with flowers, milk and rice.Although the ceremony is common, there can be some differences in how it is performed.