Thiruvananthapuram

Touching their first letters, cautiously

People waiting at Saraswathy Mandapam in the city on October 15 to get their children initiated in to the world of letters on the Vidyarambham day.   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

Several hundreds of children were initiated into the world of knowledge on Friday at ceremonies organised by religious and educational institutions and cultural organisations in the district on the occasion of Vijayadashami that marked the conclusion of the Navaratri festival.

While some families held Vidyarambham for their children at home due to the COVID-19 situation, many others thronged temples and other venues. The numbers were, however, considerably lower when compared to the pre-COVID-19 era.

Parents, grandparents

Vidyarambham rituals organised by temples saw a good turnout, but the pandemic norms prompted changes in the ceremony like last year. At the Saraswathi Mandapam at Poojappura, the children were guided in writing their first letters by their parents or grandparents and not priests or scholars as used to be the norm. They inscribed the invocation to Lord Ganapathy on the children’s tongues with a gold ring and wrote ‘Harishree’ in Malayalam with their index fingers on rice-filled platters. ‘Acharyas’ were present to offer guidance. Parents were also required to bring their own rice and trays for the ritual.

As many as 915 children wrote their first words at the ceremony at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. Chief priest Narayanan Anujan Namboothiripad of Puliyanoor Ilam led the ceremony at Karikkakom Sri Chamundi Temple. At Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, 150 children were guided by scholars. Over 100 children also took part in a separate ceremony held at the Navaratri Mandapam nearby.

General Education Minister V. Sivankutty inaugurated the Vidyarambham ceremony organised by Thidambu, the arts and cultural organisation of Travancore Devaswom Board employees.

Cultural organisations, including Thunchan Smaraka Samithi, Iranimuttam; and Kumaran Asan Memorial, Thonnakkal, too organised similar ceremonies. Chief Secretary V.P. Joy, writers George Onakkoor and V. Madhusoodanan Nair, led the ceremonies at the Kumaran Asan Memorial. Former Additional Director of Collegiate Education and linguist T.G. Ramachandran Pillai led the ceremony at the Thunchan Smaraka Samithi.

Ceremonies in churches

Cutting across religious lines, Christians too took part in the celebration, with many churches organising similar ceremonies. Fr. George Gomez, parish priest of the Madre-de-Deus Church in Vettucaud, said nearly 200 children were initiated into the world of letters amid stringent COVID-19 protocol.


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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 3:21:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/touching-their-first-letters-cautiously/article37015828.ece

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