What is a Pidyon Haben ceremony?

Pidyon Haben is a ceremony performed to redeem first-born Jewish males. According to the Torah, first-born males are obligated to a life of serving Hashem, teaching man to dedicate his very first achievements to G-d. To free them from this obligation, they must be redeemed by a Kohen at a month of age. Pidyon Haben is a short (5 to 10 minute) ceremony where the baby's father and a Kohen say special blessings, and 5 silver shekels (silver dollars) are exchanged from father to kohen to symbolize the redemption. Baby boys who should be redeemed include all first-born Jewish males who are the first issue of their mother's womb. Excluded are those born by Cesarean section and those born following a still-birth or late miscarriage. The ceremony can be arranged by your rabbi, or directly with a kohen you may know.

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