Cutting across barriers of religion, caste and class, hundreds of children in Kerala today entered the world of letters by undergoing the Vidyarambham ritual on Vijayadasami day.
Clad in new clothes, children sat in front of well-lit ‘Nilavilakku’ and elders wrote the auspicious letters Hari..Sree… with gold rings on their tongues. They were then made to write letters with their fingers in rice-filled brass platters. Apart from temples, arrangements were made by cultural organisations and media houses for the ceremony across the state.
Scores of children performed the ceremony at Thunchan Parambu in Tirur in Malappuram district, the hallowed birthplace of medieval Bhakti poet, Thunchathu Ezhuthachan, revered as the father of Malayalam literature.
Essentially a Hindu custom, Vidyarambham has assumed a secular dimension over the years with many Christians and Muslims initiating their children on the auspicious day.
The occasion has for long been held solemn by people in Kerala, a pioneer in total literacy and universal education and whose biggest asset is its educated human resources. The ceremony was also performed in art schools and classical academies, where budding singers and dancers had their maiden performance invoking the blessings of Goddess Saraswati.
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