Hindu rite of passage / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Upanayana (Sanskrit: उपनयनम्, romanized: Upanāyanam, lit. 'initiation') is a Hindu educational sacrament, one of the traditional saṃskāras or rites of passage that marked the acceptance of a student by a preceptor, such as a guru or acharya, and an individual's initiation into a school in Hinduism. Some traditions consider the ceremony as a spiritual rebirth for the child or future dvija, twice born. It signifies the acquisition of the knowledge of God and the start of a new and disciplined life as a brahmacharya. According to the given community and region, it is also known by numerous terms such as janai or janea, poita/paita, logun/nagun, yagnopavita, bratabandha, bratopanayan, and mekhal. TheUpanayanam ceremony is arguably the most important rite for the Brahmin male, ensuring his rights and responsibilities as a Brahmin and signifying his advent into adulthood.
The tradition is widely discussed in ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism and varies regionally. The sacred thread or Yajnopavita (also referred to as Janeu, Jandhyam, Poonal, Munja and JanivaraYonya) has become one of the most important identifiers of the Upanayana ceremony in contemporary times, however this was not always the case. Generally, this ceremony should be performed before the advent of adulthood.