In Hinduism, any of the personal sacraments traditionally observed at every stage of life, from the moment of conception to the scattering of one's funeral ashes. The observance of the samskaras is based on custom and on such texts as the Puranas, and differs considerably according to region, caste, or family. The most generally accepted list of 16 traditional samskaras includes ceremonies for conception, a male birth, name-giving, the upanayana, and marriage. There is also a body of noncanonical samskaras performed by and for the benefit of women.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on samskara, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up samskara? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.