Upanayana (Sanskrit: upanayana-) is one of the traditional saṃskāras (rites of passage) that marked the acceptance of a student by a guru (teacher) and an individual's entrance to a school in Hinduism. The tradition is widely discussed in ancient Sanskrit texts of India and varies regionally. The sacred thread (yajnopavita or janeu) is received by the boy during this ceremony, that he continues wearing across his chest thereafter.
Upanayana (Sanskrit: उपनयन) literally means "the act of leading to or near". It is an important and widely discussed samskara in ancient Sanskrit text. The rite of passage symbolizes the leading or drawing towards the self of a child, in a school, by a teacher. It is a ceremony in which a guru (teacher) accepts and draws a child towards knowledge and initiates the second birth that is of the young mind and spirit.
Upanayana is the rite of passage for the start of formal education of writing, numbers, reading, Vedangas, arts and other skills. The Upanayana rite of passage was also important to the teacher, as the student would therefrom begin to live in the gurukul (school).
Upanayana was an elaborate ceremony, that included rituals involving the family, the child and the teacher. A boy receives during this ceremony a sacred thread called Yajñopaveetam that he wears. The Yajñopavita ceremony announced that the child had entered into formal education. In the modern era, the Upanayana rite of passage is open to anyone at any age.