The birth of a new life spurs the entire household into a flurry of activities. Right from how the newborn should be held, fed and bathed, every little detail is pondered upon. What our grandmothers followed, is often quoted to ensure the best possible care for the new life. Ear-piercing ceremony or Karnavedha is one of the 16 Hindu Samskaras, that is performed for newborns. This age-old practice is generally done after the 10th or the 12th day, following birth.
Karnavedha can also be performed when babies are between 3 to 6 months old. Due to unavoidable circumstances, if this cannot be done in the above mentioned time period, it is done when the child is 3 years or 5 years old. One often wonders what is the purpose of this ceremony.? Popular belief is that ear-piercing opens the inner which can then receive good vibrations. Karnavedha is performed for both male and female child.
Monday, Wednesdays, Thursday, and Fridays are considered as the most favorable days for this ceremony. Karnavedha should be performed during the first half of the day. The baby is dressed up in ceremonial clothes. A mothers lap seems the most comfortable place as it braces to bear the pain of ear piercing. In South Indian community the child is placed on the lap of the maternal uncle. The piercing ceremony is done first in the right ear if it is a male and in the left ear if it is a female. In earlier times a goldsmith would use a gold needle and pierce the earlobes. These days people prefer to go to a surgeon to avoid any risk of infection. Now one would wonder why such a small baby is put through the pain of a ceremony as Karnavedha. It is interesting to know the benefits and also the fact that it shares similarities with Chinese acupressure.
As explained in the ancient Ayurvedic texts, the earlobe is an important pressure point. It is important for the reproductive health of females. It is believed to affect the brain too. So does ear piercing make one more intelligent? Well not exactly. It is said that the points on the earlobe have nerve connections to the left and right hemisphere of the human brain. Ear piercing not only activates the brain but also helps to simulate the left and right hemisphere of the brain.
Ear piercing finds a mention not only in our ancient texts but it was also had support from the Father of Western Medicine Hippocrates. He also believed that ear piercing helped females regulate their menstrual cycle. The purpose of the Karnavedha Samskara is to ensure a stable and healthy life by piercing on a particular point on the earlobe. Ever wondered why belly dancers get their belly buttons pierced?
Featured Photo by Katie Tegtmeyer