Karnavedha Sanskar is also known as Ear piercing ceremony. Karnavedha is one of the Hindu Sanskars performed for a child. It is an ear piercing ceremony that is performed on the 12th or 13th day after the birth or when the baby is 3 to 6 months old. This can still be performed in later in the third or fifth year for some Hindu children. Nowadays, both the "Mundan" and the "Karnavedha" are done together. This ceremony is performed on an auspicious day and it should be performed on the first half of the day.
On the day of "Karnavedha", the mother bathes the child first and dresses him/her well with new clothes and ornaments. The father of the child performs the ceremony and a surgeon or goldsmith does the job of piercing the child’s ear. The needle used for piercing the ear lobes can be made of gold, silver, copper or steel. The ears are pierced by covering with white yarn. The child is placed on the lap of the mother (in the South Indian community the child is placed on the mother's brother's (Thaai Maama) lap) facing towards the east direction. The ears are pierced with a needle very lightly in one stroke.
For a boy child the first ear pierced is the right ear and for a girl child the first ear pierced is the left ear. Then oil is applied to the ears with cotton. Then the goldsmith or surgeon puts a wire in the holes of piercing so that it does not fill up. A medicine is then applied on the holes so that it does not get rotted and cures earlier. Thus the ceremony of the "Karnavedha" comes to an end.
Traditionally it is performed on both boy and girl child. But in the last two centuries this ritual has been largely discontinued for male. It is believed to help in getting rid of hysteria and other diseases. The earrings are believed to help in maintaining the flow of electric current in a human body. It is also believed that ear piercing helps in maintaining the regularity in the menstrual cycle of a girl.