Rig Veda Upaakarma is observed on the day before Shravan Poornima. Brahmins who are the followers of Rig Veda change the sacred thread on the day. In 2011, the date is August 13.
Sama Veda Upaakarma is observed on the day after Shravan Amavasai (No moon day in Sawan month). Brahmins who are the followers of Sama Veda change the sacred thread on the day. In 2011, the date is August 29.
Avani Avittam or Upaakrama is a famous South Indian festival associated with the Hindu festival 'Raksha Bandhan' , a festival to celebrate the sacred relation of a brother and a sister. It is a ritual that is followed by the Brahmins. Avani Avittam is most commonly celebrated in the southern states of India like Tamil Nadu and Kerala and also in the states of Orissa and Maharashtra. This ritual is performed on the day of Shravan Purnima that is the same day as Raksha Bandhan.
|Brahmin Boy invested with the Holy Thread |
on Avani Avittam
Recitation of the Vedas on this great day is highly beneficial. This festival is also known as Upaakarmam, and is specially sacred to the Brahmins, who have been invested with the sacred thread. 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. The true Hindu never forgets his benefactors!
This is the only festival which is 100% male centric for a Tamil Brahmin.
In the beginning, it was purely celebrated by Hindus but gradually the zeal of this festival has spread to other religions around the world. Hindus wear a holy thread and offer libations of water to the ancient Rishis on this day.
Rituals of Avani Avittam
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. In North India, on this day, an amulet known as a Raksha or Rakhi is tied round the wrist of brothers by the sisters as a protection from evil during the coming year.
|Significance of Mantras-Avani Avittam|
Prayer Mantras and Meaning :
The prayer of that people recite to wash away all the sins on this day means:
"For the removal of all my sins and thereby to secure a divine blessing and for qualifing myself to perform the essential duties of Brahmanas as prescribed in the vedas and smritis and adopted by the really good in their conduct I put on this Yagnopavita".
While removing the old thread, the mantra recited means :
"I throw away the broken dirty old thread, may the new one bring on long life and Brahmana's brilliance."
When the new thread is worn then another mantra is recited which means:
|Reciting the Mantras on Avani Avittam|
Avani Avittam Significance
The festival of Avani Avittam is marked as the most significant and auspicious event for Brahmins. The name 'Upakramam' that is another name for this festival means 'beginning'. On this day, the Yajurvedis begin to read Yajur Veda for next six months.
Legend has it that Lord Hayagriva, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, brought back the Vedas stolen by Asuras on this day.
Here are a few other helpful sites too, which I found be useful for those who plan to do Avani Avittam / Gayathri Japam by themselves and are looking for pointers to the procedure for the same: