Tiny tots enter world of letters on Vidyarambham

via Pioneer News Service | Thrissur published on October 9, 2008

Tens of thousands of tiny tots were initiated into the world of letters by gurus in various temples, cultural institutions and Christian churches across the State and outside on the Vidyarambham day, Vijayadasami, on Thursday, marking the culmination of the Navaratri festival. The initiation ceremonies at several temples started as early as 4 am owing to the heavy rush of tiny knowledge seekers.

The main centres where the ceremony as held were Thiruvullakkavu temple in Thrissur district, Panachikkad temple in Kottayam district, Sree Mookambika Temple, Pallikkunnu and Muneeswaran Kovil, Kannur, the Thunchan Parambu, home of Thunchathu Ezhuthachan, father of Malayalam language at Tirur, Malappuram district and Kalakkathu Bhavanam, the ancestral home of poet Kunchan Nambiyar at Lakkidi-Peroor in Palakkad district.

Jnanpith award winner MT Vasudevan Nair led the ceremony at Thunchan Parambu while poet-playwright Kavalam Narayana Panicker officiated at the ceremony at the Thunchan Memorial in Thiruvananthapuram. More than 5,000 children, some of them from outside Kerala, attended the function at Thunchan Prambu that began at 5 am. Cultural programmes and a Kavi Sammelanam were also held.

Devotees also thronged Chottanikkara Temple in Ernakulam district, Azhakodi Temple in Kozhikode and Attukal Devi Temple in Thiruvananthapuram to mark the beginning of the children’s formal education.

Among the Christian churches where the ceremony was held were the Vettukad Church in Thiruvananthapuram and St Thomas Jacobite Church at Kakkanad of Kochi. The officiating priest at the Vettukad Church initiated the kids to the world of knowledge by drawing cross marks on their tongues and making them right the Malayalam word Amma. Fr Varghese Kallappara led the functions at the Kakkanad church.

Thousands of parents had reached Thiruvullakkavu temple and Panachikkad with children even by Wednesday evening to book the tickets for their turn. All main centres will engage several Gurus for the initiation ceremony due to the rush of children waiting to enter the world of knowledge.

Thousands of Malayalees had reached Sree Mookambika temple, Kollur, Karnataka for initiating their children into the world of letters. With the improvement in the family economy of Keralites, Malayalees had chosen this temple as their preferred place for this.

The sanctum sanctorum of the temple opened half an hour earlier than the regular time on Thursday morning considering the rush of devotees.

However, the historic Cheraman Mosque in Kodungallur, where Vidyarambham had been held without fail for the past eight years missed the event on Thursday as nobody had approached the mosque authorities. Mosque committee secretary Khayoom said he had expected some parents to turn up but it was in vain. “An average of 30 kids used to take the initiation ceremony here but nobody came on Thursday,” said Khayoom.

The secretary said that some Muslim parents had approached him to perform the ceremony for their children. “This rite is not there in the Islamic system and I sent them back due to this. But I was ready to perform it for kids from other religions, especially Hindus. But nobody turned up. Indeed, I am sorry,” Khayoom said. Cheraman mosque is considered as a symbol of Hindu-Muslim religious harmony.

With Vidyarambham on the Vijayadasami, day the Navaratri festival came to a close. Special poojas were arranged at several temples, especially in temples where the deities were goddesses. The day also so the first public performances of several budding artistes like dancers and singers (Arangettam) at several temples including the famous Lord Krishna temple at Guruvayur.

With entire Kerala becoming a cosmopolitan city of late due to the migrations into and from the State, changes have occurred in the festival of Navaratri. The North Indians in cities like Kochi and Kozhikode

celebrated Dusshera and the Bengali population in Kochi had arranged their special pooja. In several places like Mavelikkara, Malayalees themselves celebrated Dusshera the way North Indians celebrated it.

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