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,[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

Upanayana sanskara ceremony in progress. Traditionally, this ritual was for 7, 9, and 11 year olds in South Asia, but is now practiced for all ages.[1]

The tradition is widely discussed in ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism and varies regionally.[5] The sacred thread or Yajnopavita (also referred to as Janeu, Jandhyam, Poonal, Munja and Janivara[6]Yonya[7]) has become one of the most important identifiers of the Upanayana ceremony in contemporary times, however this was not always the case.[8] Generally, this ceremony should be performed before the advent of adulthood.