`Vidyarambham,' the age-old Malayali custom of initiating children into learning, is turning out to be an occasion for spreading communal harmony and social cohesion, with many churches and shrines taking the lead in conducting the programme.

The Vattal Kurishuppalli in Kodencherry grama panchayat in Kozhikode district has been in the forefront of conducting the ceremony for the past six years, say sources at the church.

On Monday, more than 140 children were initiated into learning at the Vattal Kurishuppalli.

The senior teacher members of the Kurishuppali, led by the vicar, Fr. Varghese, introduced the children to letters amidst lighted lamps, and in the presence of a large number of people.