Saturday, 13 January 2018


We are planning for my son's Upanayanam and recently completed the ritual of Upanayanam of my nephew. Had been thinking to write on this for a long time. Its quite lengthy too. Upanayanam is a two days ritual. Normally this is done when the boy reaches 5 years or  7 or 9 years of age. Basically the odd years of age is chosen to perform this ritual. Once Upanayanam is performed and Brahma Upadesam is made he becomes a eligible bachelor and then on starts performing Sandhiyavandhanam on a daily basis.

The Function is usually planned during Dhakshinayanam which is From Tamil month Thai to Aani. Aadi to Margazhi is not suitable to perform Upanayanam. Marriages can be planned during Uthrayanam. The best suitable month is Maasi for performing Upanayanam. If the boy was born during the month of maasi, then it should be conducted on this month. There is a saying "Maasila Poonal potta Paasi Padaraum"

While the family sastrigal helps in choosing the date for the function, he also guides to narrate the invitation. Before performing the function we need to perform the Pondugal and Samaaradhanai selecting a auspicious day. Pondugal should be done first and then Samaaradhanai. It's mandatory for the kid to participate in both functions. So ensure to plan on holidays when the kid does not have school or any other important activity to participate.

My sister's family hails from North arcot and they do the ritual of "Pongi Idaradhu" before the function. Basically, the kid is invited for the Athai;s [aunty] home on a auspicious day. They apply nalungu, apply oil on his head and make him take bath. Then food is served including Payasam, vadai. Finally gift him with dress. This is also being done before marriage in the same manner.

On the previous day of the Upanayanam, Uthagashanthi is performed. All items required will be listed by Sastrigal. The same day Naandhi is also performed. For this 9 Vaidhigaal will be coming to receive the Dhaanam. It is mandatory to cook food at home for Vaidhigaal. Else they don't take food ordered from outside. The person preparing food should wear Madi and serve food wearing madisaar saree.

Both the parents and the kid should not have food till the end of the function. After the poojai, the kid undergoes Abhishegam with the holy water in the kalasam. Parents should wear Panchakacham and Madisaar. Both Parents and Kid should take head bath and prepared for the function before Sastrigal comes. Kid should wear 4 muzham Dhothi. Be prepared with the towels for the kid to dry after undergoing the abhishegam.I am told that is is preferred to wear the Muhurtha Pudavai on the day of Upanayanam. So I did.

On the day of Upanayanam, the kid should be made to sit in a manai palagai on which maakolam is applied. Mangala snanam should be performed for the kid by the Atahi {aunt} by applying nalungu on feet and oil on his head. He she wear  Muzham dhothi, apply Viboodhi on forehead.

Brahma Upadesam is the actual ritual that is performed on this day. The guru does this for the kid in the presence of mom and dad alone. The guru, kid, mom and dad are covered with a vastram and the guru teaches the Gayathri Manthram.

From the day of the Upanayanam, the Sharma name is applicable for the kid and we start using this while performing Archanai and in all Poojai. The kid is taught "Abhivadhaye" which he tell to his mom and perform Namaskaram. He is then mandated to perform Bikshai and handover the rice to his mom. The Mom should receive it in her Saree thalaippu. Keep it safe and cook the next day at home. All Sumangali ladies who attend function shall then provide Bikshai arisi along with little thoor Dhal. The kid should say "Bavathi Biksham Dhehi" to those ladies who offer Bikshai Arisi. It is a tradition to issue Murukku and Laddu to those ladies who offer Bikshai Arisi. The Bikshai arisi should be brought back to home and included in the Rice that is used for cooking.

On the day of Upanayanam,  a small portion of hair will be cut for the kid. Those days, the boy after Upanayanam keep Kudumi and this practice is now not followed as mandatory. People who belong to Sama Vedham shave the entire hair of the kid. After that the kid take bath and wear a fresh set of cloths. Athai has to apply a beauty spot {dhrishti pottu}.The maternal uncle {thai maama} of the kid used to carry the kid on his shoulders and bring him to the function hall. This is a practice followed and the uncle is honored for the same.

The kid and a boy who is a bachelor {for whom Upanayanam is already performed} are made to sit together and they are offered with food which normally includes a Sweet,Ven Pongal and Murukku Vadam. Kolam is drawn on the floor where the kids will sit and on the place where the Vazhai Ilai is placed to offer food. The food is normally served by Athai/Maami. Mother offers theertham before the kids start eating. This ritual is called as Kumaara Bhojanam.

The Kid's maternal grandma brings in "Paruppu thengai" for both days. One pair for Uthagashanthi and one Pair for Upanayanam. This is usually made of Laddu and Manoharam for those who hails from Tanjore. They also gift the traditional 5 round Murukku, Adhirasam, Mullu murukku, laddu, a vessel for Bikshai arisi, Thanga poonal  Velli Poonal and Pattu Veshti for the kid.
This Pattu Veshti is normally used while sastrigal perform the Brahma Upadesam to the kid which is the important part of the function.

Both days, maakolam is applied on the entrance, Vazhai Maram is tied on the entrance and all close relatives of the kid are invited to bless the kid. Nowadays, the function is performed in a mini hall.
The list of items required for Sastrigal will be provided by him. I would insist in performing the Rituals more with Religious importance.

The kid will be trained by the Satrigal for the next few days to perform Sandhiya Vandhanam.

We have to be prepared with the below list of items.

1. Manjal and KumKum
2. Garland for the kid for both days
3. Flowers for us and to the visitors
4. Thamboolam for the guests
5. Thambalam {Plates}
6. Arrange for caterers
7. Vazhai Maram in both Mandapam and home
8. Decoration if any in the Mandapam and Name Board
9. Pair of Lamps to be lit on both days and oil, Thiri.
10. Sandana Pela and Kumkum Chimizh
11. Dresses for us and kids to wear after Muhurtham
12. Sampandhi Badhil Mariyadhai
13. Coins {5 or 10 Rupee}
14. Aarathi liquid and Plate
15. 4 Muzham Veshti to gift for the boy accompanying Kumara Bhojanam
16. Pancha Paatram and Udhruni
17. Photographer
18. Maakolam Maavu
19. Photos of Elders and God
20. Return gifts {not mandatory}

We bought everything and packed in separate boxes to make it easily available on the day of function and the previous day.

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