Vidyarambham: The start of Education for Kids!
Vidyarambham is a beautiful ritual, and a Hindu tradition, wherein toddlers are introduced to the world of knowledge. It’s basically a ritual for children. Last year, during Navratra’s, I witnessed Vidyarambham, also referred to as Ezhuthiniruthu or Aksharabhyasam in a South Indian temple (Ayappa Temple Delhi). Really impressed with the whole ritual, I decided to pen it down for my readers.
Vidya means “Knowledge” and Arambham means “Start”. Thus it is a ritual, which formally introduces children into the characters of the syllabary.
What is the right age for Ezhuthiniruthu/Vidyarambham?
Since it denotes the onset of Knowledge, this ceremony can be performed for a child between the age of 2-5years. It should be done for both boys and girls, to be blessed with lots of wisdom.
What are the auspicious dates for Vidyarambham?
Goddess Saraswati is considered to be the Goddess of Knowledge and wisdom and hence Vidyarambham is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. This ceremony is usually conducted on the last day of Navratri, i.e. on Vijayadashmi. This year, in 2019, Vijayadashmi is on 8th October 2019.
“Sarasvati Namastubhyam Varade Kaama-Ruupinni |
Vidyarambham Karissyaami Siddhir-Bhavatu Me Sadaa ||”
Let’s all bow down to Maa Saraswati, who gives us the boons and fulfills all the wishes,
When I start my studies, always bestow on me the virtuousness of right understanding.
Apart from Navrathra’s, there are many auspicious dates on which Vidyarambham can be performed. Read the auspicious dates for Aksharabhyasam in 2019, here.
How to do Vidyarambham ceremony?
Well, many parents have the concern that can Vidyarambham be performed at home? The priest informed that if the elder person at home is aware of performing the rituals, Ezhuthiniruthu can be done at the ease at home itself.
1. Children are first showered with a bath and adorned with new traditional clothes.
2. Usually, kids are taken to nearby Temple maybe Ayyappa temple in Delhi, Mookambika temple in Karnataka or any South Indian Temple near your place. Try asking the temple priest before you plan for the ceremony.
3. Usually, children sit in the lap of Guru/priest, or even in the lap of the elder most person of the family. With the right mantra’s and process, Ezhuthiniruthu can be performed at home also.
4. Vidyarambham Ceremony begins with writing ‘Om Hari Sree Ganapathye Namaha’, in a tray which is filled with rice. Usually, the index finger of the child is held and he/she is made to write this mantra (usually in Malayalam). This mantra is written on sand and rice. Both writings on sand and rice have their own significance. Writing on sand signifies practice while writing on rice signifies prosperity due to knowledge.
5. Om Hari Sree Ganapathye Namaha is then written with gold (purity) on the child’s tongue. Priest/elder person at home does the same. This signifies that Goddess Saraswati is there on the tongue of the child so that he/she attains the right knowledge in his learning curve.
6. You can use that rice to cook a delicious sweet kheer for the family.
Slates and pencils are distributed to other kids once this ceremony is concluded. It was an enlightening ceremony for me and I really wished the same for my son. People across all religions have been performing Vidyarambham these days graciously.
Things to carry for your Vidyarambham ceremony at the Temple :
Be it Kollur Mookambika temple or Delhi Ayappa temple or Attukal Bhagavathy Temple (Sabarimala for women), Thiruvullakkavu Sree Dharma Sastha Temple in Thrissur, all temples might become overcrowded for Vidyarambham ceremony.
Here are some points which you must need to take care before taking kids for this ritual :
- Check the timings of the temple you wish to carry out this ceremony
- Since the temples are overcrowded more so during Vijayadashmi, it is advisable to start early for temple.
- Dress your kids traditionally, but ensure clothes are soft and do not hurt kids. Standing in queues and no-so-soft clothes can make kids cranky.
- Take some finger foods and water along, so that kids can munch and sip in case the queue is really long.
- Do carry your bag with essentials as Wipes, diapers (if need be), an extra pair of clothing
Let this onset of “Knowledge” be the best ritual for your child! The best gift we can give to our kids is the Gift of “Knowledge and wisdom”, right moms and dads?
Wishing that Maa Saraswati blesses every child.