Priest performing Saraswathy Puja at Kachamkurissi

 

Vidyarambham (Sanskrit: विद्यारम्भम्) is a  tradition observed on Vijayadashami day, where children are formally introduced to learning of music, dance, languages and other folk arts. It involves a ceremony of initiation into the characters of the alphabet

Vijayadashami day is the tenth and final day of the Navaratri celebrations, and is considered auspicious for beginning learning in any field. The process of learning and initiation on this day is also closely related to the Ayudha Puja ritual. It is usually on Vijayadashami that the implements kept for puja are taken up again for re-use. This is also considered a day when the Goddess of learning, Saraswathy, and teachers (gurus) must be revered by giving Gurudakshina. This usually consists of a betel leaf, areca nut, along with a small token of money and a new piece of clothing – a dhothi, mundu or saree.

The ceremony of  Vidyarambham (vidya means “knowledge”, arambham means “beginning’) for children is held in temples and in houses. It is common practice for thousands of people to visit temples to initiate their children into learning.

 

Children awaiting initiation

 

Parents patiently waiting in line for their children’s turn

 

Initiation into the world of learning usually begins with the writing of the mantra

which means Salutations to Hari (Lord Vishnu), Shree (the Goddess of prosperity), and Lord Ganapathy.

 

 

Guru with Child

 

Initially, the mantra is written in a tray of rice grains by the child, under the supervision of a master who conducts the ceremony (usually a priest or a guru). Then, the master writes the mantra on the child’s tongue with gold.  Writing on grains denotes the acquisition of knowledge, which leads to prosperity. Writing on the tongue with gold invokes the grace of the Goddess of Learning, by which one attains the wealth of true knowledge. The ritual also involves an invocation to Lord Ganapathy for an auspicious start to the learning process.

 

Writing on Grain

 

Source : Text extracted From Wikipedia