“Culture, then, is a study of perfection, and perfection which insists on becoming something rather than in having something, in an inward condition of the mind and spirit, not in an outward set of circumstances.”– Matthew Arnold

Like all other societies, the Kumaoni society also has several important rites and rituals attached to every human life. Some of the most important ones are being mentioned below.


On the fifth day of the birth of a child, the mother and the child are given a bath, followed by puja and singing of traditional songs.


This event is celebrated on the sixth day of a child’s birth. It is a daylong event and generally finishes in the evening. It usually consists of decorating the house with traditional aipans and other things, singing of traditional Kumaoni songs followed by lunch.


This is celebrated the ninth day of the child’s birth. Basically it is celebrated in the same manner as the Pachuli.


On the eleventh day of the child’s birth the namkaran ceremony takes place. The house is decorated with AIPANS. Brahmin is called for puja. The child is exposed to the sun for the first time on this day, similarly he is made to touch the earth on this day. A coonch shell is wrapped in a new cloth and the Brahmin takes it near the child’s ear and very gently speaks the child’s name in his/ her ear. This cloth is then kept in the puja place and used to make a dress which the child wears on his/her Unnaprashana day.


This event is celebrated in the fifth month in thecase of a girl child and the sixth month in case of a boy. The house is decorated with traditional art (painting form) of Kumaon called Aipans which is called Alpana in Bengal, Satiya in Gujrat, Rangoli in Maharashtra, Chowkpooran in UP, Kolam in south India, Madne in Rajasthan, Arichan in Bihar and Bhuggul in Andhra. Guests are called, puja is done and later the mother does symbolic feeding of the child with a gold ring. It is a tradition to keep items like toys, silver coin, pen, ink, books, janau and knife on a big plate. The child is taken near the plate and encouraged to pick or touch any of the items.

1st Birthday

This is also celebrated in the traditional way. The child is given a traditional bath in a big brass vessel called Parat. Wheat flour is mixed with turmeric and used to rub the child. All relatives pour water over the child as a symbolic gesture. This is followed by a feast.


This is celebrated on the third birthday of a child. Five different pujas , Ganesh Puja (Lord Ganesha), Matri Puja (Mothers), KalashSthapna, Nav-Grah Puja (Nine celestial planets), and Punya-Wachan are done. After this the hair of the child are shaved off. The child’s ears are also pierced on this day.


This is done on the child’s fifth birthday. In Kumaon, the studies start in the 5th year. After puja of Ganesh, Saraswati and Gurj-Puja, the Brahmin starts his formal studies on this day by teaching him the alphabets.

Janeu/ Barpand/ YagyupaweetSanskar

This is second most important day in the life of a male child. The house is decorated with Aipans. Guests are invited. Puja on this day is more elaborate than on previous occasions. After puja the boy wears the sacred thread called Janau. He takes pledge to remain a Brahmchari (virgin) till he completes his education. His head is tonsured on this day. This day is normally celebrated in the odd birthday like seventh, ninth, eleventh, thirteenth etc.