Some type of toddler dating ritual

D., a Seattle-based clinical psychologist and identity development expert."They are about knowing where you come from." For parents, birth rituals and ceremonies provide an immediate sense of connection as well as inclusion of the child into the clan, tribe or community, Root explains.

They did, however, hold a more complex ceremony when Maya recently turned 1.

Another important milestone in a young child's life, the Ayush Homam, or first year fire, is a way to wish the child a long, healthy and prosperous life.

"With these rituals, the parents give the child a road map home." This can be particularly important for parents who have recently come to the U. Parent Map spoke with three local couples about their baby traditions and rituals, stemming from five different cultures.

Although Sivaraman Balachandran was only 7 years old when he came to the U. from India, he still remains very connected to his cultural and religious heritage.

Sivaraman and Jennifer then spoke her name into her right ear. Sivaraman and Jennifer then wrote her name in a plate of uncooked rice.

"We say the name so that it registers in the baby's brain and the parents' voice pattern is also registered," says Sivaraman's father, V. "If we would have been in India, the ceremony would have been about four hours long, and a priest would have been present," Sivaraman says.

So when his first child, Maya, was born a year ago, he and his wife Jennifer decided they would give her a traditional Hindu welcome.

"It was an important way for me to keep my traditions alive," Sivaraman says.

"We both like the idea of exposing our kids to many religions and cultures." Halina Alex is only a year old, but she's already been shown many cultures.

With a Filipino mother and a Navajo and Caucasian father, both of whom are Catholic, she is being raised with a unique blend of traditions and beliefs.

Although babies aren't yet fully aware, these rituals are important for them as well, she adds.