Thiruvananthapuram : Thousands of tiny tots in Kerala were initiated into the world of education as they wrote their first letter on the occasion of Vijaya Dashmi on Friday.

For ages, this ceremony was restricted to the Hindu community. However, over the past few  years, some other communities have begun to observe it also.

The biggest crowd was witnessed at the Thunchan Parambu near Trissur, the home of Malayalam litterateur Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan.

As the ritual has gained popularity in recent years, even the media houses have started hosting this event imparting colour to it.

Saraswati temples in the state also witnessed a huge rush as parents came with their children to introduce them to the world of letters.

The common practice today is that at all these places eminent personalities from all walks of life are seated. The guest seats the child on his lap. Holding the right hand of the child, the guest guides him/her to write on the rice plate with the Hindu children writing ‘Hari Sree Ganapathaye Namaha’ and the Christians ‘Sree Yesu Mishihaye Namaha’.

“I registered with the Malayalam Manorama office in the capital city and they gave me a token. I was surprised that my number was close to 1000. I know, we as kids did not follow this ritual because in those days Christians did not take part in this. But in the modern world none of us would like our own kids to be left behind, so when my wife asked me I instantly agreed,” said an IT professional who did not wish to be identified.

Among those who turned out to help the tiny tots write their first letters were Jnanpith awardee M.T. Vasudevan Nair, top serving and retired bureaucrats, veteran teachers, and not to be left out, even politicians.

“My son who is in the Middle-East insisted that his son be put through this. My first reaction was: We never had such traditions and I ignored it. My son said if I do not take his child he will fly down for it. So I agreed and took my grandson to a cousin of mine who is a retired teacher,” said a 65-year-old grandfather in Kottayam.

The ceremony concludes with the teacher writing a Malayalam word on the child’s tongue with a gold ring. After the ceremony, parents make a token offering to the ‘teacher’.

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New start for Puducherry kids

Puducherry: Young kids were initiated into the world of letters and alphabets on the occasion of the `Vidyaarambam` in Puducherry on Friday.

Parents with the help of priests at various temples including the shrine of Sri Lakshmi Hayagreeva turned up with prayers and holding the children`s fingers they taught them with the help of the priests to write certain mantras.

It is believed that initiating the young children into the world of alphabets and also letters on the occasion of Vijayadasamy would make them scale greater heights in the academic pursuits. Special poojas were performed at the shrines seeking blessings of the presiding deities for the excellent academic capabilities of the upcoming generation.

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