Sacred Thread Changing Festival in India

Gayatri Yajnopavita- Sacred Thread Changing Festival

The festival of changing sacred thread is known in different names according to custom, language and belief. In South India people call the festival as Avani Avittam day or Jandhyala Purnima an in some other region it is known different names such as Yajur Upakarma,Yajnopavita dharan, poonal or poonool thread wearing etc.

A full-moon day of the year is observed by those who wear the sacred thread (typically brahmins and followers of Arya Samaj) as a day of spiritual renewal and the thread the ritually replaced by  new one. The festival of changing sacred thread is performed on Jandhyala Purnima day (Avani Avittam day).A brahmin vatu is taught that the sacred thread and the Gayatri mantram are the strongest weapons in his repertoire, to fight fear and seek enlightenment.

The performers of Jandhya dharana perform ritual bath in rivers or lakes or even in house and sanctify the puja room. New Janai (Sacred Thread) is worn after reading Gayatri Mantram.The Brahmins who missed the opportunity to change the Sacred Thread on Shravana Pournami, will perform the ritual on Bhadrapada Purnima.

The people of different languages call Sacred threads as Janeu in Hindi, Janivaara in Kannada, Poonool in Malayalam & Tamil, Jandhyamu in Telugu, Jaanave in marathi, Lagun in Assamese. This indicates “unity in diversity” in India by celebrating people from all over.

Sacred Thread Guidelines

  • The sacred thread should never be removed from one’s body.
  • If for some reason, the sacred thread is lost or slips off, it should not be reused. A new sacred thread (that has been got as prasad from Yagnopaveeteswara) should be worn.
  • Bachelors should wear sacred threads with 3 strands. Married men should wear sacred threads with 6 strands. Men whose parents have passed on should wear sacred threads with 9 strands.
  • The Gayatri Mantra should be chanted before wearing sacred thread.
  • It is the person’s responsibility to keep the thread clean

According to source, in Hinduism, Upanayana (Sacred Thread ceremony) is performed on boys of at least 7 years of age from the Brahmin varna, of at least 13 years from the Kshatriya varna, and of at least 17 years from the Vaishya varna. The youngster is taught during the ceremony the secret of life through Brahmopadesam (revealing the nature of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality) or the Gayatri mantra.Everyone has a first, biological birth, but when a young man seeks his spiritual identity he symbolically accepts a spiritual teacher as father and the Vedas as mother.At the ceremony, he receives the jenoi (sacred-thread), usually worn for his entire lifetime. It is replaced at intervals, but never removed until the new one has been put on.

Typically women do not wear the yajnopavita (although they may wear other sacred threads). However, practitioners of Arya Samaj philosophies practice equalities of same sex and perform all rituals for both the sexes.

In today’s Hindu society, the sacred thread symbolizes the ancient history of the custom as well as the caste of the person wearing it. It is the person’s responsibility to keep the thread clean (washing every time one takes a both) and honor it. After the man is married, the three-threaded yajnopavita is replaced by a six-threaded one, symbolic of the additional repsonsibility.

Long, long ago, the Christian term “Born-again” was exclusively used within the church as an important part of the church’s phraseology. Now it is widely used even in commercials, just like the word “Guru”. However Born Again concept came from Hinduism. Brahmin, kshatriyas, and vysyas are having birth and by wearing poonool they become Dwija (Twice born).

6 responses to “Sacred Thread Changing Festival in India

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review « A blog by rakesh hp

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  3. I shall be happy if you kindly make me know how to prepare a new ‘Upabit’. The sanskrit mantras for this purpose may kindly be supplied.

  4. Thanks for the details.
    Can you please provide the details
    If man did not undergone thread ceremony as Boy can he go for having secrete thread after 40 yrs age ? If yes what is the process.
    What should the rules one should follow when a Married man while having sleeping with wife ?

    • Hi Heena,
      As per my knowledge, the day to observe Upakarma might differ for the followers of Yajurveda and Rigveda. Due to eclipse, Sacred Thread Changing in 2017 was on July 28th. If you miss that date you can check with your pandit or pujari for next date after Shravan purnima of Aug 7th.

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