You may have noticed that my baby is more bald than usual. This is because last week we celebrated Kiran’s first otonan – a ceremony marking his birth every 6 Balinese months or 210 days. Many Balinese people (particularly older people) don’t celebrate or don’t even know when their birthday is but their otonan will always be marked with a special ceremony.
This isn’t a big ceremony like the 3 bulanan, just a quick blessing at home with the family. However for the first otonan, the hair of the baby must be completely shaved off as a cleansing ritual to prepare the baby for his first temple visits. Kiran didn’t have much hair to begin with so he doesn’t look that different. Maya looked really funny and we flew out to England a few days after her otonan and I was worried what people would think about my skinhead baby! Kiran’s already been on his first temple visit and he’ll gradually work his way around all the village temples, ending with the Pura Dalem (cemetery temple). Maya is still not old enough to go there yet so I’m guessing it’s after the 4th Otonan.
Of course, having had two bald babies at exactly the same age gives me excellent opportunity to compare photos without the hair confusing things. The first thing I said when Kiran was born was “He doesn’t look like Maya!” and I think they were quite different babies for the first few months. Now Kiran is getting older I think he’s starting to look a bit more like Maya. What do you think?