namakarana or "samskaras of childhood" (Sanskrit: "Name-giving") from naming to education — formal entry into one or another sect of Hinduism, performed 11 to 41 days after birth. The name is chosen according to astrology, preferably the name of a God or Goddess. At this time, guardian devas are assigned to see the child through life. — annaprashana: (Sanskrit) "Feeding." The ceremony marking the first taking of solid food, held at about six months. (Breast-feeding generally continues). — karnavedha: "Ear-piercing." The piercing of both ears, for boys and girls, and the inserting of gold earrings, held during the first, third or fifth year. See: earrings. — chudakarana: (Sanskrit) "Head-shaving." The shaving of the head, for boys and girls, between the 31st day and the fourth year. — vidyarambha: (Sanskrit) Marks the beginning of formal education. The boy or girl ceremoniously writes his/her first letter of the alphabet in a tray of uncooked rice. — upanayana: Given to boys at about 12 years of age, marks the beginning of the period of brahmacharya and formal study of scripture and sacred lore, usually with an acharya or guru. — samavartana: Marks the end of formal religious study.


1. Hinduism's Online Lexicon, Himalayan Academy

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