wearing a janai

It’s an age old tradition within the Brahmin, Chettri and Newar community for men to wear janai. Even though a lot of people do not know the true significance, the tradition is still followed with a strong devotion. Janai is a collection of sacred strands of threads that men wear around their arms. This tradition is continued once a boy of a certain age group completes the ceremony of ‘bratabandha’. Which as per the Hindu rituals signifies that a boy is now a man.

Hindu priest wearing a janai over his left shoulder.

Young men these days might not be perfectly aware about what these strands signify. Every year on the auspicious day of Janai Purnima, men put on a new janai but why? When asked, hardly any person could give a proper answer. However, experts suggest it’s a divine way of life and here’s why!

The legend

The Hindu God Bramha, who is the creator of all living creatures on Earth was who created the janai. Next, Lord Bishnu enriched it with knowledge and Lord Shiva binded it all together. This is why the sacred entangled strands of thread consists blessings from all three founders of Hinduisim. All sacred Hindu manuscripts have mentioned janai as a divine power that governs all important aspects of a man’s life. These humble threads protect a man’s knowledge, wisdom, power, prosperity and emotions. Any man who wears the janai is thought to attain all the greatness and happiness, they desire in their lives.

Consequently, whoever wears janai is supposed to always be truthful, loyal, respectful and should never stray far from his duties in life. Overall, janai signifies the purity in a man. It entitles men to understand how an ideal man should be. So the answer to, why wear a janai is pretty straight forward. It’s a way of life for men in the hindu community. A symbol for the grace of God. It’s a reminder of knowing that men have duties towards their families and societies. It is basically a symbol of purity. That is why, though the knowledge behind wearing a janai is pretty minor, people respect the tradition with all hearts.