How to wear Janai?: A Sacred Thread

How to wear Janai?: A Sacred Thread
How to wear Janai? It is a headache for almost every guy who celebrates Janai Purnima.

Almost all Hindus across the world celebrate the Janai Purnima festival on the full moon day of Shrawan every year and yet many of them do not know the essence of ‘Janai’, the sacred thread made of 6 thinner strands that gave the festival its name. So before knowing how to wear it let us know about the Janai first:

What is Janai?

Although it is often translated as a sacred thread that has a high religious and cultural significance among the Hindu boys and men. The real name in Sanskrit is “Yagyopabita” which translates into something that should be worn while performing Yagya.

Janai: A Sacred Thread Made of 6 Raw Strands
A Brahmin

What is its significance?

According to religious texts, men from Bhramin, Kshetriya, and Vaishya varna receive the honor of wearing it during a ritual called Bratabandha because it is made holy by chanting Vedic mantras.” It is believed that these mantras established several Hindu gods and goddesses in the threads.”

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How to wear Janai?: A Sacred Thread
Bratabandha Ceremony (Image Source: Tips Nepal)

How to wear Janai?

Now comes the big question we have been discussing since the start. It is normally worn diagonally, from the left shoulder to the right waist, crossing the chest.

How to wear Janai?: A Sacred Thread
Man wearing it during worship (Image Source: Online Khabar)

How to change the Janai?

The wearer of the holy thread called Janai takes a bath in the nearest river or pond early in the morning and changes with the one given by their priest. Devotees also tie a sacred thread around their wrist on this day, which they believe purifies the soul and protects the body from evil.

How to wear Janai?: A Sacred Thread
Man changing his Janai (Image Source: The Kathmandu Post)

What does it remind its wearer of?

Janai reminds the wearer that they are bounded by some vows and rules, making sure that they always follow their conduct and lessons taught by their gurus. It is also said that it grants the motivation to the wearer for performing good deeds and to be in pure character. It is believed that wearing it grants longevity and conspicuousness.

How to wear Janai?: A Sacred Thread
Sacred threads

How is it made?

It is made by bonding the 6 raw threads (yarn threads) while chanting the mantra and is made by tying two separate knots and putting them all in one place. A tradition of changing it annually to this day is accustomed from ancient times.

How to make it

When is it is worn for the first time?

It is worn for the first time during the ritual called Bratabandha in Nepali and Ketapuja in Newari. The ritual is performed before the boy becomes a teenager. It is a religious ritual performed by a priest. The boy is shaved as part of the ritual, stripped almost naked, and afterward dressed in a new suit and a white scarf.

Keta Puja Ceremony

Can a girl wear Janai?

In a tradition that is more than four decades old, girls in a Bihar village wear the ‘Janai‘ or ‘Janeu‘, which is otherwise the preserve of men or boys.

How to wear Janai?: A Sacred Thread
The State of Bihar

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