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Toddlers make a beginning with divine blessings

First steps: A mother giving initiation to her child in reading and writing on the occasion of Saraswati Puja in Berhampur on Saturday.

First steps: A mother giving initiation to her child in reading and writing on the occasion of Saraswati Puja in Berhampur on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Toddlers with their parents reached different temples in the city on Saturday for their ritualistic beginning of studies on the day of Vasant Panchami.

Vasant Panchami is celebrated to worship goddess Saraswati, the deity of knowledge of Hindu mythology. Till now traditional Hindu families in Orissa consider it a holy day to begin the study of their children. This ritualistic start of education is called ‘Khadi Chhuan’. On this day the child formally accepts the ‘Khadi’ or chalk as a part of life.

As per bookshop owners like Sanjit Rath, there was ample sale of slates and chalk on Friday evening for these rituals. Vasavi Club and Vasavi Ladies Club had organised mass ‘Khadi Chhuan’ rituals at Gaytari temple in the city.

A parent, Manas Patnaik who took his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter to the Gayatri temple in the city for the ‘Khadi Chhuan’ rituals said despite modernity they continued with this ritual to make their daughter feel the importance of education in one’s life. With the invocation of goddess Saraswati, the priests also made the young ones write letters on a brass plate full of rice with the help of pieces of turmeric. “Rice marks productivity and the turmeric represents purity,” said a priest. It was a hint to make people understand that productive and purity is the basic of any education.

Vasant Panchami is the preferred day for this ritual though it is also performed on Ganesh Chaturthi. It is because admission session starts by the end of February and parents prefer to let their children enter the pre-school institutes only after the ‘Khadi Chhuan’ rituals.

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