Avani Avittam

Avani Avittam is the day when a majority of the Tamil Brahmins exchange their old three threads, worn across their body, for new.

I read this in a brahmin-oriented yahoogroup…

Avaniavattam Komanam
Ambi porantha Sobhanam
Akka porantha Ukkarai
Patti porantha bakshanam
Patta porantha pazhukavadi

……..and at the end of it the bhramachari gets a dime.

the translation goes like this

hail Aug 12th – the Underwear old
brother’s birth brings brightness more
while sister’s birth means jaggeried flour
Grandma’s birth gets the goodies pick
but grandpa’s is jus the walking stick !

Happy Avaniavattam!!

This verse is very old, and that explains the “brightness” when the brother is born, as opposed to the “jaggeried flour” when a sister is.
The death of a really aged relative usually is occasion for the family to celebrate the liberation of the associated soul, and that explains the goodies distributed when Grandmas die.

A week or so ago, my room mate, who hails from the Szechuan province in China (yes, as in “szechuan chicken”), spied the threads around my body, and asked me what purpose they served. I gave him the standard joke about it being useful to scratch the back, and then went on to explain the caste system as it was followed in India. In explaining this I used the word “Varna” which, when literally translated, means “colours”. He listened intently, and I was explaining patiently. At the end of it all, he asked me, “So do the other castes wear threads of different colours?”

And I was thinking that was a neat idea! Maybe it was that way (I know it wasn’t) and thats why we have the word “Varna”.

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7 Responses to Avani Avittam

  1. krishna kumar says:

    it is not only changing the thread, but doing karma for the whole last year. maha sangalpam is confess in public that the mahapadhakam ( big crime) done by me knowingly and unknowingly . o god forgive me and taking oath in the public that i will no do it again.
    is the main significance

  2. krishna kumar says:

    during the avaniavittam day after sandhyavandanam kamokarshi japam should be chanted 1008 times, parihara for the last year not doing japam etc

  3. Panchapagesan says:

    Avani Avittam.

    Anything done has deep meaning. Three threads symbolise structure,metabolism and intellect.

    These three are to be balanced and knot represents one’s ego. If it turns inwards , an

    individual realises SELF. SELF means Subtleness Envisaged Luminous Focussed. Thread which is

    white, is pure consciousness. Changing the thread once a year on the Full Moon day is to take

    a stock of our past action. V.T.Panchapagesan,NewJersy,USA 20thAugust 2007.

  4. Ramakrishnan says:

    It is good to the site. But during Avaniattam, everybody should wear komanam (kaubeen) and perform Sankalpam & othe pooja vidhi. It is a must.

  5. Ramachandran says:

    What Ramakrishnan said is absolutely correct. It would be wise to wear komanam 24 x 7. If not 24 x 7, at least while going to temple or doing pooja and even on Avaniavittam day, everybody should wear komanam. It is a must.

    I am wearing komanam everyday after reaching home from duty and even on holidays and sundays, I wear full time komanam. It is very comfortable and maintenance is also very easy. It is a old tradition and costume. One should compulsorily follow .

  6. N.K.V.Iyer says:

    Upanayanam is a religious function which will be performed to a boy who is below ten years of age but nowadays it is not followed strictly.In and from that ocassion the boy is to wear only the loincloth(komanam)because of scientific reasons and some religious thoughts on that and perform Trikala Sandhyavandhanam.
    I agree with Ramakrishnan Those who don’t have the habit of wearing komanam at least try wearing it on the day of Avaniavttam and perform the sankalpam and other karma.

  7. Karthik says:

    What Mr. Ramakrishnan & Mr. Ramachandran said is absolutely right. At least during Avani avittam, all brahmins should wear komanam and do sankalpam & thread changing ceremony. But many feels shy & odd to wear the old costume. Think about the traditions & culture of brahmin community, nothing wrong in wearing in komanam.

    I am also a brahmin from Kerala. I wear komanam for the past 3 years . At home,I wear komanam even on holidays and sundays. I do pooja after wearing komanam only.

    No need to feel shy.Reqeust everyone to take this in a right sprit .