My baby shower was done in the Bengali traditional way which is called as Saadh in Bengali. It is meant mostly to pamper the first-time mother to be and cheer her up as she accumulates courage to face the most testing time in her life which will soon change her life in and out. Normally, held in the seventh or ninth month of pregnancy on a specified day when mother-in-law will organize this ceremony. She will invite all the women she knows. Thus this ceremony is mainly for women only.
In our custom, M-I-L presents all the garments which mother-to-be wears at the ceremony. This occasion happens twice once from in-laws side is over then only my mom can have but because of my critical condition, from both sides were done on a single day in the seventh month.
Expected mother have to sit on the floor facing east and sometimes puja is also performed; but as I was medically unfit to sit for a longer duration so certain rituals were curtailed. Alpana (with powdered rice) designs are usually drawn on the floor. In the middle of the design, an earthen or copper pot is kept decorated with a red swastika and filled with pure water, mango leaves and green coconut is kept. This is considered as an auspicious sign.
Mom and mother-in-law of the prospective mother fill her lap, represented by the aanchal of her sari with items. Generally, mother-in-law will first bless with ululating the expectant mother as well her unborn child and then put items like 7 different types of dry fruits, fresh fruits, sweets etc in the lap which will be followed by other invited married women. Had a wonderful time with all elders wishing me luck in their own way.
Last but not least expected mother is fed well with seven different types of savory traditional dishes. A feast is prepared for the guests as well. In Bengali, no ceremony be it a wedding or baby shower is complete without elaborate serving rituals, but nowadays professional catering or buffet-style dining is common. The courses progress from lighter to richer and heavier. Rice remains common throughout the meal.
Starting course is bitter a soupy mixture of vegetables in a ginger-mustard sauce, called shukto. Followed by Dal lentil curry - the most substantial course accompanied with fritters (bhaja). In fritters tailfin and head of fish is must to be served to expected mother. The next course is two kinds of vegetable curry which is followed by fish course of two varieties. Finally comes the chutney course, which is typically tangy and sweet; usually made of mangoes or tomatoes or pineapple etc. And of course at last sweet dish be it rice pudding (kheer) or rasogulla is served which is not to be missed.