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Avani Avittam


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Avani Avittam, also known as Upakramam or Avani Attam, is the name associated with Raksha Bandhan. The festival of Avani Avittam is celebrated on the full moon day of Shravan (August), which is also the day of the Rakhi Purnima. This festival is very much popular in South India. Primarily, this ritual was being followed by the Brahmins in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa and parts of Maharashtra.

Every year, the festival of Avani Avittam falls on the full moon day of the month of Hindu calendar month of Sravan (August-September). People in India celebrate this important Hindu festival with great enthusiasm and spirit. On this holy day, Hindus wear a new holy thread and offer libations of water to the ancient Rishis / sages.

History of Avani Avittam/ Upakramam
The literal meaning of this word is 'begining'. Also known as 'Upakramam', the day recalls the reincarnation of the Lord Vishnu, the preserver in the Hindu trinity of Gods, as Hayagriva, the god of knowledge. The Lord had restored the Vedas to Brahma on this day, hence the festival signifies the beginning of the reading of the Yajur Veda (one of the four Vedas) for the next six months.

Traditionally, Brahmins were known as men of knowledge and they have sought to study the Vedas and derive its meanings over centuries. This continues till day as each Brahmin sets out to achieve the goal of transcendence, oneness with the creator Brahma.

Traditions of Avani Avittam/ Upakramam
The different rituals and tradition followed on the day of Avani Avittam.

  • It is a day of retrospection for the Brahmins and a day when they can reaffirm their vows of penitence. This is also known as Mahasankalp (great aim).
  • On this day, Brahmins take a dip in the holy river. It is a sight which commands immense respect all over the rolling plains of India.
  • Brahmins also change their sacred thread on this day.
  • Thread changing process symbolizes the shedding of all sins and making a new beginning.
  • It also involves the renewal of their pledges to keep their Vedic duties towards society and humanity at large.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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