The Avani Avittam or the Rigveda Upakarma is celebrated on the day of Hayagreeva Jayanthi. It is an occasion when the old Yajnapavit is discarded along with the sins of the past and atonement is made to the Lord to guide the devotees and save them. Avani Avittam is the most important ritual for Brahmins. It is the ceremony of changing the sacred thread (poonal). The right name for this Ritual is Upakarma and over a period of time, it gets the name "Avani Avittam." This is a festival for the Brahmin gents and generally, it comes in the Tamil month of Aadhi. Avittam is one of the 27 Nakshatras. The day is considered very significant and auspicious because according to the Indian mythology, on this day Lord Sri Maha Vishnu was incarnated as Lord Sri Hayagreeva, the divine being of knowledge who restored the Vedas to Brahma. Thus, on this auspicious day, Brahmins offer libations of water to their ancestors to whom they owe their birth and also to the great Rishis to whom they are highly grateful for the complete spiritual knowledge and the Vedas.
The Significance of Sri Hayagreeva Jayanthi
Sri Hayagreeva Jayanthi is a unique occasion where the appearance of Lord Sri Hayagreeva is celebrated. It is the birth anniversary of the Lord who was an incarnation of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu. The specific reason for donning and being reborn in this Avatar was to restore the Vedas to Brahma, which were forcibly taken away and kept away by the demons/Asuras.
Lord Sri Hayagreeva is an incarnation of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu with the horse head and is worshipped as the God of knowledge and wisdom. He has a human body and a horse's head, brilliant white in color, with white garments and seated on a white lotus. At Sri Agasthya Bhagavan's request, Lord Sri Hayagreeva taught Him the holiest 1000 names of Sri Lalitha Tripura Sundhari. It is also Lord Sri Hayagreeva who gave the two famous Devi Stothras - Sri Lalita Sahasranaama Stothra & Sri Lalita Trisathi stothra to Sri Agasthya Bhagavan. The Horse Avatar of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu is seen as pulling the sun up to the heavens every day, bringing light to the darkness. Sri Hayagreeva’s consort is Devi Sri Marichi (or Lakshmi) the Goddess of the rising sun, more accurately the sun’s light which is the life force of all things. Marichi Devi represents the essence of the power of creation of the cosmos and Sri Hayagreeva represents the power and action of the cosmos manifested as actions.