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Thread: Questions about pujas

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    Smile Questions about pujas

    Hello, I'm new here and learning about Hinduism. Maybe someone could answer some questions I had about pujas. First off I was wondering who in a family would have authority to perform the puja for everyone and why? Is there anyone that is not allowed to perform a puja? And what learning is required to have the authority to perform the puja.

    Thank you so much.
    - Hindu Student

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    Re: Questions about pujas

    Vannakkam and welcome!


    First off I was wondering who in a family would have authority to perform the puja for everyone and why?
    By saying 'performing puja for everyone', did you mean the person who heads the puja session at a family prayer?

    If that's what you meant, then it is the head of the family who usually performs the puja. Note that this does not necessarily mean that it has to be a man. Families that lack a patriarch can have a matriarch take his place instead. Hindus in general are a patriarchal society, so the head of the family is usually a male, and it is he who typically takes the place of his father in performing pujas. Sometimes, the grandmother of the family, as in, the oldest member of the specific family or clan, performs the puja for everyone.

    The reason is out of respect. This is one of the many ways Hindus give importance to their elders.

    Anyone can actually do the puja, but the older, the wiser, the better.


    There are various types of pujas. Some would require both husband and wife to be present and perform the puja together. Certain pujas would have male preference, as the person performing is required to wear the sacred thread for the ceremony. If there is only a woman available, some of the rituals are omitted out, as females can never wear the sacred thread.

    For the more elaborate pujas, Brahmin priests are invited to head it.





    Is there anyone that is not allowed to perform a puja?
    There are quite a number of restrictions on who can perform it too. Women who are 'having their time of the month' should never do a puja. This is the most common situation.

    Others would include those who are mourning the death of a close relative, as well as celebrating the birth of a baby in the male-line of the clan/dynasty. They shouldn't do pujas for a certain duration. This period is called 'thodakku' in Tamil.

    A hundred years ago, widows usually couldn't head pujas. Today, old widows typically head family pujas, along with their eldest sons.




    And what learning is required to have the authority to perform the puja.
    You just need to know the basic hymns as well as knowledge on basic rituals, and the ritual that is about to be performed, to perform a puja. Especially if it's a family puja. For the more elaborate pujas which require lots of mantras and complex rituals, we always have the Brahmin priests at our service.



    That is my humble attempt to answer your questions, and I know that my knowledge is nothing compared to some members here.



    Aum Namah Shivaya

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