Vidyarambham, sometimes referred as Ezhuthiniruthu, is a Hindu tradition where children between two and three years old are formally introduced into the world of knowledge. Vidyarambam is a combination of two Malayalam word “Vidya” means “knowledge” and “Arambham” means "beginning”. Vidyarambham ceremony is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati - the Hindu Goddess of Learning, and is held on the Vijayadasami day (Vijayadasami), the last day of the ten-day-long Navaratri festival.
People of Kerala call this ritual as Aksharabhyasam or Ezhuthiniruthu and they visit Hindu Goddess temples to initiate learning to their children and introduce them to the world of learning and knowledge. In 2021, Vidyarambham is celebrated on 15 October 2021.
How to perform Vidyarambham Ceremony?
Vidyarambham ritual commences with prayers to Lord Ganapathi – the remover of obstacles, and then to Goddess Saraswathi Devi. The children sit on the lap of the Guru (teacher) or any elder person who writes ‘Hari Shree’ on the child’s tongue with a golden ring. It is said that writing on the tongue with gold evokes the grace of the Goddess Saraswati. Then, with the help of the Guru, the child is made to write ‘Om Hari Sree Ganapathye Namaha’ in Malayalam with the right index finger. Hari refers to the Lord, and Sri refers to prosperity. Writing on sand denotes practice, whereas writing on grains denotes the acquisition of knowledge, which leads to prosperity.
After the ritual, slates and other stationary items are distributed to the children. In olden days Vidyaramba was considered a ritual of Hindus only. However nowadays Vidyarambham is performed by the people across all castes and religion.
Vidyarambham at Thunchan Parambu, Tirur
Vidyarambham ceremony is of great importance in Thunchan Parambu at Tirur in Malappuram, Kerala. Thunchanparambu is the birthplace of Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, the great poet who is considered to be the father of Malayalam language. Thousands of children are being brought to Thunchan Parambu to be initiated into the world of education and knowledge on Vijaya Dasami day.
Vidyarambham at Kollur Mookambika Temple, Karnataka
Sree Mookambika Temple in Kollur is one of the most favourite Goddess temples in India chosen by parents for performing Vidyarambham to their children. Vidhyarambha is carried out in the Goddess Saraswathi mantapa at Mookambika Devi Temple on the last day of Navarathri festival. A popular belief is that those children who get the luck of having their Vidya Rambham performed at Mookambika Temple will become very successful in life. Another noted feature of Sri Kollur Mookambika Temple is that people can conduct the Vidayarambha ceremony on any suitable day at the temple.
Other famous temples to perform Vidyarambham for Children
Attukal Bhagavathy Temple in Trivandrum, Shri Dakshina Mookambika Temple in Kulangarakonam, Thiruvananthapuram, Panachikkadu Saraswathi Temple in Kottayam, Mookambika Saraswathi Temple in Paravur, Ezhukone Mookambika Temple in Kollam, Thiruvullakkavu Sree Dharma Sastha Temple in Thrissur, Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, Vadakkan Paravur Temple in Ernakulam, Chottanikkara Devi Temple in Ernakulam, Thrikkavu Sri Durga Bhagavathy Temple in Ponnani, Thrikkur Mathikunnu Bhagavathy Temple, Trikkur Mathikunnu Durga Temple, and Edakkunnu Durga Bhagavathy Temple are some famous temples to perform Vidyarambham ceremony. Special arrangements are made in the temple for this occasion.