By Swami Harshananda
Karṇavedha literally means ‘piercing the ear-lobes’.
Sanskāras or sacraments are common to many religions. One of the minor sanskāras recommended in the later dharmaśāstra literature is karṇavedha or piercing the lobes of the ears of a child. Since both men and women used to wear ear-ornaments in those days, karṇavedha procedure was done both on the male and the female.
It was performed either on the 10th or the 12 or the 16th day from birth. Alternatively, it could be done in the 7th or the 10th month after birth. The ceremony used to be done by the father of the child with Vedic mantras followed by the feeding of the brāhmaṇas. In the modern times, it is done by a goldsmith with pointed gold wire or even by a doctor.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore