For years, Hindus in Kerala have been following the traditional ritual to initiate children into the world of letters on the occasion of Vidyarambham day. Now, churches and Muslim organisations have also joined in to launch formal learning of their tiny tots, giving the occasion a secular hue.
Gathered in large numbers, unaware of the ritual, tiny tots performed the ceremony either smiling or crying when elders made them write Malayalam letters on a plate of rice.
This event witnessed eminent litterateurs, teachers and politicians holding hands of tiny tots to help them write the Malayalam letters for the first time.
While the Hindu children write "Hari Sree Ganapathaye Namaha", Christians write "Sree Yesu Mishihaye Namaha".
Later, using a gold ring, an elder writes a Malayalam word on the child's tongue, which is followed by parents' token offering to the 'teacher' for his services.
"We are elated that our son has been initiated into the world of learning in the traditional manner," said a young couple at the Panachikkadu temple dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, situated in Panachikkad, Kottayam district.
The ceremonial celebrations were held across the state at various temples.
The maximum crowd was witnessed at the Thunachan Paramabu near Trissur, which is considered as the home of Malayalam litterateur Thunchathu Ezhuthachan.
Jnanpith award winner M.T. Vasudevan Nair also attended the event.
--IANS (Posted on 14-10-2013)