Thiruvananthapuram | Cutting across religious and caste barriers, thousands of tiny tots in Kerala entered the world of knowledge by scribbling their first letters on Vijayadasami day on Tuesday.
Clad in new clothes, children, mostly aged two and three, thronged temples, libraries and cultural centres with their parents to take part in ‘Vidhyarambham’, the beginning of learning ceremony across the state.
Invoking the blessings of the Goddess of Knowledge, elders wrote the first letters with gold rings on the tongue of toddlers. Children were also made to write the alphabet with their fingers in platters filled with rice.
Writers, scholars, teachers and musicians took the initiative in making children scribble their first letters in many places.
Politicians like Marxist veteran V S Achuthanandan and opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala also helped children write.
All famous shrines, especially the Mookambika Temple at Kollur, Panachikkad Temple in Kottayam and Dakshina Mookambika Temple in Ernakulam dedicated to Saraswathy, the Goddess of Learning and Art, witnessed heavy rush since the wee hours.
A grand ‘vidyarambham’ ceremony was organised at Thunchan Parampu at Tirur in Malappuram district, the birth place of medieval poet Thunchathu Ezhuthachan, who is considered the father of Malayalam literature.
The ceremony was organised at Sivagiri Mutt in Varkala and in various media houses including Malayala Manorama.
Though essentially a Hindu custom, the ‘Ezhuthiniruth’, (writing initial letters) ceremony was organised in many churches also in the state, considering the growing interest of people in it.
Besides first letters, priests made children write a couple of lines from the Holy Bible also as part of the ritual.