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Customs - Birth

Upanayan (Initiation)

 
This ceremony is performed when a boy is eight or nine years old. Upanayan literally means taking a boy to an acharya or guru for initiation into the life of  a Brahmachari. At this ceremony, the boy is clad in the garments of an ascetic. He is given a staff in his hand. A sacred thread (Yajnopavit) is hung over his left shoulder and diagonally down his right arm and he is expected to always wear it from that day onwards. The family priest whispers into the ears of the boy the most sacred verse from the hymns of the Rig Veda addressed to the Sun God, Savtiur. Known as the Gayatri Mantra, the sacred verse initiates the boy into the world of knowledge.


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