Significance of Avani Avittam

Avani Avittam or Avittom is highly auspicious and is of great significance to Yajur Vedi Brahmins. On the same day, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in North India. In 2013, Avani Avittam is on August 20. The main ritual on the day is ‘Upakarma,’ which is also referred as Shravani. It is believed that Lord Hayagriva, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, brought back the Vedas, which was stolen by demons, to Lord Brahma.

Avani is the Tamil month and Avittam is one of the 27 nakshatras or stars. Chingam is the equivalent Malayalam month. Avani Avittam is of great significance in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other southern states.

On the Avani Avittam day, Brahmins after a holy dip and change the sacred thread and wear a new holy thread. This ritual is known as Upakarma, which means beginning. The sacred thread is referred as ‘Poonool,’ ‘Yajnopavita’ or ‘Janeyu.’ The ritual also symbolizes the permission to study the Vedas.

Usually the function is conducted by communities and large number of people participates in the ritual.