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I think I should add some context to this. I like in Austin, Texas. My parents moved to USA in the mid 70s. My younger brother and I were born here. My parents have not been the best when it came to ceremonies and festivals. Both doctors, they do not believe in religion and unless they have a basis in science they do not believe in the ceremonies. This is something, I learnt in the last few years as we have moved more and more apart. Now they don't even bother.

My younger brother told me last week that our Mundan and Janeo ceremonies were not done, as in my parents words - they couldn't be bothered. Though this does not seem to concern my brother, it does bother me. I believe that there is reason behind these ceremonies and they should be performed. I have no idea however how they are done and what all is involved. All I know is that mundan involves a tonsure and the Janeo is a sacred thread.

My Girlfriend and soon to be wife (me marry in fall) and her family - Father, Mother, and Sister will support my decision and stand with me. Along with two close friends. However none of them are Hindu or Indian heritage. So this is all new to them too.

TL;dr: I am a 33 year old Hindu or so I thought. I am a Sharma. I do not know anything else about Gotra etc.

Today I learnt that my parents had never bothered to get my Mundan done nor had I ever had my thread ceremony.

Can I still get these ceremonies done? Where should I get them done? What will it involve? What family is needed to be present?

  • Not all Hindus need to go through the thread ceremony. Do you know what your caste/gotram is? – user1195 Mar 9 '16 at 15:48
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    Generalize your question such as "Can a person of age 33 can get janeo done?" or something similar to it. Remove all personal details. Personal advice questions are off-topic on this site. – The Destroyer Mar 11 '16 at 17:31
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No, don't get it done. Here's why:

One of its implications is that you vow that you'll remain chaste till your life as a student/learner is completed (these ceremonies were designed back in the day when we had the Gurukul system).

So a man who has had his mundan done as a kid, he gets it "undone" [so to speak] just before his wedding, in a ceremony called "sod-munja" in Marathi (that's my mother tongue; I don't know the Hindi equivalent for that word).

Ergo, as you are about to get married soon, there's no point in getting your mundan done now.

As for the janeo, I'm sorry, I don't know much about that.

Source: my mum told me the significance of mundan

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As per the Agni Purana,the answer is NO.

Sacred thread ceremony is not allowed for those whose age is more than 16 years .

Quoting from here:

The sacred thread ceremony is to be held at the age of eight years for brahmanas, eleven years for kshatriyas and twelve years for vaishyas. No sacred thread ceremony should be held beyond sixteen years of age.

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Yes. I do believe you can get the ceremonies done. While not having the ceremonies will not prevent you from being a good Hindu, formalising these ceremonies is a good thing.

If you are ready to do this, you can get a mundan and Janeo done together on this Friday between 3:21pm and 7:43pm.

You should speak to the acharya and pandit at a mandir, while family is important usually at the ceremonies, seeing as your family did not previously participate, you may want your friends present. Any family which joins is welcome. The ceremonies should usually be done at your home, but if not the mandir may also be acceptable.

Ask friends to be present, because you will be busy with the ceremony and will not be able to do anything. Friends would be able to help you out with the food etc.

Additionally the pandit will give you the list of requirements for the Havan, but if you are not able to light a fire, the alternative is a coconut and a Kalash of water, dry rice, sandalwood paste, red thread, Kum Kum and some fruits and sweets. And You will also need a low stool for you to sit on.

You will need to invite a barber, and provide him a new pair of scissors and a shaving blade and straight razor, and two white towels.

For yourself you will need two sets of white kurta pyjamas, and two white towels, and a white duppata

On the day of the ceremony, you must oil your hair, wash it and bathe. Wear one of the kurta pyjama, and prepare your mind and body. Fast.

When the acharya arrives, do a full length pranam and touch his feet. Touch the feet of all your elders and friends present, they are here to give you blessings, you should feel no shame in touching all their Feet. Make sure you get the blessings of the barber too.

While this can happen before the Pooja time, Make sure that you sit down to Pooja at 3:21. The ceremonies will take some time.

The acharya will then tie your hair in 5 knots using grass or straw. You will have a Tilak done by the acharya and then by the attending people. Everyone will sprinkle rice on your head. Try and collect all that falls in the lap of your kurta or in one of the towels.

Have your friends hold the dupatta stretched over your head.

The acharya will then cut all of the five tufts of hair, and then hand over to the barber. The barber will wet your hair, please use dettol and warm water here, and then shave your hair except for a tuft of hair right at the crown. This is the Shikha. Make sure that all of the hair that is cut is collected. Have it fall in your lap. This hair is sacred and will need to be kept for a year.

Now that your head is shaved, you will need to have another bath. Have someone ceremonially pour water on your head and bathe you. You must now change into the new kurta pyjama. The previous one is to be given away.

You will now sit down to Pooja again and the acharya will lead all assembled in doing another Tilak to you. He will complete the prayers for the mundan.

For the Janeo ceremony, traditionally another headshave is done, however in this case the acharya may choose to do your Janeo also. He will take a long white thread and wrap it around in a loop. He will then whisper a mantra in your ear and loop the Janeo around one shoulder.

You should never remove the Janeo until the same time next year when you change it. You should have another headshave then.

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