Kerala

Children initiated into world of letters in Kerala

Children being initiated into the world of letters on Vijayadashami Day by their parents at the Attukal temple in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.  

Given the COVID-19 scenario, many parents in the district appeared to have opted for an ‘at-home’ Vidyarambham for their children this year, but popular venues such as temples and cultural centres still found takers on the occasion of Vijayadashami on Monday.

COVID-19 containment protocols governed the conduct of the ceremony at the public venues in the capital city.

Writing on rice

Hundreds of tiny tots took their first step into the world of letters by writing on rice at venues including the Saraswathi Mandapam, Poojappura; Thunchan Smarakam, Iranimuttom; Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, and Karikkakom Sri Chamundi Temple.

Unlike in past years, this time the children sat on the laps of their parents who helped them write. At some venues, 'acharyas' were present to offer verbal guidance.

This year, the organisers had also directed parents to bring the rice and trays to further reduce any chance of infection.

“The queues were way shorter this year,” said Poojappura Krishnan Nair, patron, Saraswathi Devi Temple and Mandapam, Poojappura.

Approximately 600 children sat for Vidyarambham at the popular venue on Monday, where the ritual began at 5.30 a.m.

“'Last year, there were around 1,700 children and 55 acharyas. This year, the COVID-19 guidelines were strictly observed. The children were assisted by their parents,” Mr. Krishnan Nair said.

The Poojappura Mandapam drew families from places outside the city limits including Nedumangad and Karakkamandapam.

Less than 50 children sat for Vidyarambham at the Thunchan Smarakam at Iranimuttom.

“'Usually, the number is above 1,000. The families were allowed inside in batches of five every half hour,” said Sudha Harikumar, secretary.

The temples in Thiruvananthapuram also witnessed shorter queues this year, according to the temple trusts. Approximately 300 children each were ushered into the world of letters at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple and the Karikkakom Sri Chamundi Temple.

Less crowds

Both temples usually see crowds exceeding 1,000.

Taking into account the COVID-19 situation, the State government had requested parents to perform the ceremony at home to reduce the chances of the virus from spreading. The Health Department and the Thiruvananthapuram district administration had issued guidelines for safely conducting the ceremony at public venues.

At Cliff House

The Cliff House, the official residence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, also witnessed a Vidyarambham ceremony this year. Mr. Vijayan initiated Devana, granddaughter of his driver Vasanthakumar into the world of letters. Mr. Vijayan's wife Kamala and Vasanthakumar's family members were present. Five children at the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare also were initiated into the world of letters on Monday by V. P. Mahadevan Pillai, Kerala University Vice Chancellor,

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2020 10:36:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/children-initiated-into-world-of-letters-in-kerala/article32947977.ece

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