In South India, like in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa and Maharashtra, Rakhi Purnima is known as Avani Avittam. Generally, it falls on the full moon day in the month of Shravana. And it is actually the same day of Raksha Bandhan. Typically, this day belongs to Brahmins. Characterized as the special day for worship and chanting, Brahmins spend the entire doing the puja. Essentially, these Brahmins are those men who read Yajurveda—one of the Indian Vedas.
With the break of dawn, they take bath in the holy river and change their ‘janeyu’ or ‘Yajnopavit’, a holy thread worn across the body especially by Brahmins and men. Chanting a few ‘shlokas’ from holy books completes the process. They pledge to perform all the duties of a Brahmin as laid down in the books and vow to adopt good conduct and dignity. The ceremony is popularly known as Shravani or Rishi Tarpan. This is the day of taking a great oath or ‘mahasankalpam’. They declare to amend their sins of the past.
While vowing to atone the sins, Brahmins chant, “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”. This is known as ‘prayaschita’.
While removing the old thread, they pray, “I throw away the broken dirty old thread, may the new one bring on long life and Brahmana's brilliance”. And while wearing the new thread or janeyu, they chant, “I put on the sacred thread which is highly pure, is inseparable from God, is capable of prolonging life and is the foremost in the accomplishment of a Brahmana. May such pure Yagnopavita bring strength and dignity”.
The importance of Upakarmam on this day is to signify the new beginning. All the Brahmins commence the process of reading Yajur Veda from this day and that continues for another six days. Based on Hindu mythology, it is believed that on this day Lord Hayagriva, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu restored the Vedas to Brahma and hence, tjhis is a very pious day.
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