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Kerala Christians follow 'Vidyarambham' Hindu ritual to initiate toddlers in alphabets

Thiruvananthapuram , Thu, 06 Oct 2011 ANI

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct.6 (ANI): 'Vidyarambham', the traditional Hindu ritual to initiate tiny tots to learn the alphabet, was performed on the last day of Dussehra, Vijaya Dashami, in Kerala.


The event took place at the Vyloppilli Sanskriti Bhavan here and was followed by mass initiation at the nearby church in Vettukad.


On the occasion, Hindus worship Goddess Saraswati, the index of knowledge, music and arts.


Hindu children start with the divine word 'Om' while the Christians write the word 'Yesu' (Jesus Christ) as their first alphabets.


Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, a Christian, participated in the 'Vidyarambham' ceremony held at Vyloppilli Sanskriti Bhavan with utmost devotion, and even personally helped several tiny scholars in writing the first alphabets and words in the traditional manner on rice, placed in a plate.


Chandy's presence and playing the role of Guru (mentor and teacher) reflected the essence of communal amity in India.


Over 100 children took part in the ritual. While the enthusiasm of the parents was obvious, the spirit among many children remained teary eyed during the rituals since these little scholars detested compulsion!


On their part, the Christian priests, described this Hindu ritual as an indicator of India's cultural heritage.


"All of us begin with the divine blessings of Jesus. And this Hindu ritual of 'Vidyarambham' is no different and we have been observing this memorable occasion for many years. This year, we had registration of more than 350 children although we expected around 400 kids. After all, education is universal and on our part, we blessed the children in the names of Jesus for Christians and in the name of God for others. May they prosper," said Father Gladian Alex, priest at the Vettukad Church.


An ancient practice, 'Vidyarambham' is traditionally conducted by a priest or men of learning like teachers or writers, who help the children trace their first alphabets on a plate of rice.


"Well, at home, we have immense faith in the divine powers. My earlier baby was also initiated into the learning through this ritual. This is my second child, a baby girl and I feel nice to have my children initiated into the academics through Vidyarambham," said Rita, a mother of two children at the Vettukad Church.


Once having taught the children how to write, the teachers also transcribe an ancient hymn on their tongue with gold dipped in honey. (ANI)


Read More: Thiruvananthapuram | Ker | Guru

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