Nishkramana Sanskar is an important Vedic Sanskara associated with a new born baby and carried out when the child is taken out of the house for the first time. This custom is carried out usually in the fourth month when all the motor and sense organs of the baby are strong enough to tolerate the sun, the wind etc. In some cultures, this custom is carried out after the initial confinement period is over.
On the day of the Nishkramana, a square area in the courtyard from where sun can be seen is plastered with cow dung and clay and the sign of svastika is marked on it.
The mother of the child scatters grains of rice over it. The child is brought, and the ceremony ends when the father makes the child look at the sun with the sound of the conch-shell and the chanting of Vedic hymns. The parents of the child invoke the panchabhoota – earth, water, space, air and fire. Worship is also offered to the Surya (Sun God) and Chandra (moon god). The child is then shown the sun and later at night the moon for the first time.
The aim of these rituals like showing of the baby to the sun, the moon and to the gods, is just to pray for the boon of vitality from the sun who gives life; the moon who governs the mood, and to generate a feeling of respect in the baby for these natural powers. These also teach the parents that they should not confine their baby within the walls of their home, and let him breathe in open sky instead.