Cutting across barriers of class, caste and religion, hundreds of children in Kerala entered the world of letters by undergoing the 'vidyarambham' ritual on Saturday.
Clad in new clothes for Vijayadasami day, children sat in front of well-lit 'nilavilakku', while elders wrote the auspicious letters starting with "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 prominent media houses for the ceremony across the state. Scores of children performed the ceremony at Thunchan Parambu in Malappuram's Tirur, the hallowed birthplace of medieval Bhakti poet Thunchathu Ezhuthachan, revered as the father of Malayalam literature.
The ceremony will also be performed in art schools and classical academies, where budding singers and dancers had their maiden performance invoking the blessings of Goddess Saraswati.
Essentially a Hindu custom, Vidyarambham has assumed a secular dimension over the years, with many Christians and Muslims initiating their children to letters on this 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.
(With agency inputs)
Photo courtesy: Nivin/Facebook