Keshant Sanskar

The Keshant Sanskar is one the Sanskars among the 16 Vedic Sanskars which celebrates the manhood and coming of age of the boy and girl. ‘Kesh’ means ‘hair’ and ‘ant’ means ‘end’, as per Sanskrit, and therefore as per the name suggests, it involves the shaving of hair for the first time.

The Ritual

This ritual is done around the age or sixteen or before, which comes first when a male student has to get his first facial hair shaving done, since he starts getting his facial hair now. It is also called Godaan’, as it involves the gifting of a cow to his Acharya and gifts to the barber. Since the student has now entered manhood, it is advised that he be more vigilant over the various indulges and impulses he might have as a man, that could be a trigger of his youth. He is also required to take a vow as his sign of Brahmacharya, and renew it by promising to live under strict discipline for a year. Though this ritual was adhered to until recent times, it is slowly getting decapitated and stays as a matter of happiness and celebration when a boy enters manhood.

In the case of a girl, this ritual is known as the ‘Ritusuddhi’ , and is the coming of age ceremony for them, corresponding to the ‘Keshant’ in boys. This is when a girl enters womanhood, and gets her first menstruation. This is observed as a milestone in a girl’s life, and is observed by her family and friends as a ritual, wherein the give her by gifts and things that a grown-up woman can use. She is even given saris, bindis, and cosmetics, etc., which show that she has transformed into a lady. In modern times as today, too, many places in India celebrate this occasion, and the family and friends are invited wherein they feast and celebrate the girl’s coming of age.