The Annaprashana Puja is also known as Annaprashana vidhi, Annaprasan or Anna-prasanam or Anna Prashashan, is a Hindu 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 Annaprashana, unlike many other Samskaras, remains an important ceremony in modern India.
The ceremony is usually arranged in consultation with a priest, who arranges an auspicious date on which to conduct the ceremony.
It 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.
Annaprashana is followed by Mamabhat, which takes place in the maternal uncle’s or grandparents’ house. In this second ceremony the child’s maternal uncle feeds it rice. It is celebrated within that week because in Vedic Hindu culture the child cannot eat rice until Annaprashana and Mamabhat have both occurred. However, nowadays parents consult doctors and start rice accordingly.