Impressions in the child’s mind are formed based on what we see and hear in this world. Nishkramana is the first outing of the child where it is shown good and auspicious symbols. This is usually done after the first month the child is born. The child is taken for a visit to the temple and shown the moon at night.
According to the Grihyasutras and the Smritis this Samskara may take place either in the third or in the fourth month after the birth. Hindu scriptures say: "The ceremony of looking at the Sun should be performed in the third, and that of looking at the Moon in the fourth month." Niskramana ceremony can also be performed with the First Feeding in the opinion of Asvalayana. There are specific astrological dates when the ceremony should be performed based on the convenience of the parents, the health of the child and suitability of the weather. On the day of performing the Samskara, a square portion of the court yard, from where the sun could be seen is smeared with cow dung and clay, the sign of Swastika is made on it and grains of rice scattered by the mother. (In olden days these were mud floors in villages which needed plaster as often as possible. Cow dung was also considered as disinfectant.)
In the Atharva Veda 8/2/14 it is said:
Sive te staam dyaavaaprithivee asamtaape abhisriyau |
sam te soorya aa tapatu sam vaato vaatu te hride |
sivaa abhi ksharantu tvaapo divyaah payasvateeh ||
O Child! At the Nishkramana ceremony may the earth and the whole world shower welfare and benevolence upon you! May the Sun shine brightly upon you! May your chest be filled with fresh life-giving air! May the divine waters quench your thirst!
It is customary to chant the mantras
“Trayambakam Yajaamahe” and “asato maa sadgamaya” on this occasion.
Hindu scriptures say:
Nishkramanaad-aayusho vriddhir-appyuddishtaa maneeshibhih ||
The Nishkramana ceremony aims at wishing the child a long and healthy life.