Priests and Brahmins also tie this kind of thread round the wrist of the right hand of their patrons and receive gifts. They recite a mantra or a sacred formula while doing so to charge the thread with the power of protection.
The thread charged with the power of mantra protects the wearer from the possible evils.
According to Hindu scriptures Sachi, the consort of Indra, the god of heaven, tied such a mantra charged thread round the right wrist of their husband when he was disgraced in the battle by the demon forces. Indra again fought and gained a convincing victory over the demons, and recovered his lost capital Amaravati. The sacred amulet helped him in defeating the enemy.
In South India, it is celebrated as Avani Avittam. Holy thread (Upanayna) is changed and libation of water is offered to the ancestors and rishis on this occasion. The new thread is worshiped with saffron and turmeric paste before wearing and the old one is discarded in the water of a pool, tank or a river. This day is specially significant for a Brahmin boy who has recently been invested with an Upanayan (holy thread). It reminds him of the glorious religious significance. Vedas are also read and recited on this day.
In Mumbai, coconuts are offered to the sea-god Varuna on this occasion. Exchange of sweets, setting up of fairs, visiting the relatives and friends, sending the “Rakhis” by post to brothers living at far of places, and remembering the Rishis and Gurus whom we are indebted for their guidance and spiritual knowledge, are other highlights of this festival.