(Last Updated on : 09/09/2009)
Upanayan is a traditional Hindu ceremony and traditionally marked the age at which the male child begin their formal education .The ceremony is not opened to all the castes but the three upper castes Brahmin
, Kshatriya and Vaishyas .The young boy is taught the Gayatri mantra and then becomes qualified for life as prescribed in the Manusmriti.
The symbol of the ceremony is the wearing of the Yajñopavitam (Sacred Thread) on the body. The thread is circular where only one knot is permissible and wrapped on the body Yajñopavitam has three threads each consisting of three strands.These threads represent Goddess Gayatri (Goddess of mind)Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of word) and Goddess Savitri (Goddess of deed). The sacred thread is supposed to be worn for the rest of one's life after the ceremony has been performed. A new thread is worn and the old thread discarded every year; the changeover ceremony is held on a specific date calculated as per the Hindu lunar calendar. The date varies according to the four Vedic Shakhas one belongs to among the Brahmins.