Avani Avittam or Upakarma, also known as Yagnopaveetha Dhaarana, is an ancient ritual performed by Brahmin sect on Shravan Purnima day or Raksha Bandhan day. In South Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Kerala and in some parts of Oriss.It is a highly auspicious day for the Brahmin community. The sacred thread worn by Brahmins known as ‘Yagnopavitam’ is changed on this day. The ritual is also referred as Shravani. It is also a day for traditional Vedic studies. Recitation of the Vedas on this great day is highly beneficial. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala it is known as Avani Avittam. In 2009, date of Upakarma is August 5. Gayatri Japam is on August 6.
Every year, the festival of Avani Avittam falls on the full moon day of the month of Hindu calendar month of Sravan (August-September). People in India celebrate this important Hindu festival with great enthusiasm and spirit. On this holy day, Hindus wear a new holy thread and offer libations of water to the ancient Rishis / sages. Shravan Purnima is an auspicious day for the Brahmins because on this day Lord Hayagriva, the protector of the Vedas, was born. Lord Hayagreeva also referred as the God of wisdom and knowledge. The Lord had restored the Vedas to Brahma on this day, hence the festival signifies the beginning of the reading of the Yajur Veda (one of the four Vedas) for the next six months.
On this day, Brahmin boys are bestowed with the Sacred Thread (Yajnopavit or Janeyu). It is said that the third eye, that is the eye of wisdom opens on this day. When the Brahmin boy is invested with this holy thread, symbolically his third eye, or the eye of wisdom, is opened. This festival of Upakarmam reminds the wearer of the sacred thread of its glorious spiritual significance. Brahmins also offer libations of water to their ancestors to whom they owe their birth and to the great Rishis to whom they are highly indebted for their spiritual knowledge and the Vedas themselves. A Mahasankalpam or a vow is taken for the expiation of all the sins in the past year. Thereafter Brahmins take a Holy water dip and wear a new holy thread called Yajnopavit or Janeyu..
There are four Vedas and accordingly there are different sects of Brahmins who follow these four Vedas. Avani Avittam or Upakramam is followed by Brahmins who read Yajurveda. The rituals of Avani Avittam for these Yajurvedic Brahmins are:
First the Rishi Tharpanam (offering prayers to the ancient Rishis) is read out.
Brahmin bachelors perform 'Samitha Daanam' and 'kamo karshith japam' after Mahasankalpam.
Thereafter, Kaanda Rishi tharpanam is performed with the help of family priest or elders.
As per the rituals, all the male members should have a light meal at night.
Next day after an early bath, 'Gayathri Japam' is read out by everyone.
Green Gram, Dhal or Kondai Kadalai Sundal are offered as Neivedhyam for the Homam (Fire ritual).
The other Vedic Brahmins too follow the ceremony of Avani Avittam in the same month of Shravana, but on different days.
The Significance of Upakarma :
Upakarma In Details:
Upakarma In Details: