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The ceremony of Vidyarambham (Vidya means "knowledge", arambham means "beginning') for the children is held on Vijayadashami (the last day of Navaratri) day. On that day thousands of people arrive at the temple to initiate learning to their children.
Initiation into the world of syllabary usually begins with the writing of the mantra "Om hari sri ganapataye namah"(ഓം ഹരിഃ ശ്രീ ഗണപതയേ നമഃ). Hari(ഹരിഃ) refers to the Lord, sri(ശ്രീ), to prosperity. Initially, the mantra is written on sand or in a tray of rice grains. Then, the master would write the mantra on the child's tongue with gold. Writing on sand denotes practice. 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 Ganapati for an auspicious start to the learning process. Nowadays, the Vidyarambham ceremony is celebrated by people across all castes and religions, with small variations in the rituals followed.
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