In India, traditionally children started education around five years of age. Years back, this was possible. But in today's life, this is not practical and so we all start our kids education early. Among the Hindus, young children between ages of 2 to 3 years formally start their education on an auspicious day, mostly on the Vijayadashami day.
Either a priest or one of the parents usually help the child to write on a plate full of raw rice. Sometimes a grandparent, or someone else who is respectable may also do the function.
Either a stone pencil or a dried piece of fresh, dried turmeric is used to write on the rice. What the children write on the rice can vary depending on the region, but it will be definitely include prayers to the goddess Saraswati, Lord Ganesha and also other gods.
Goddess Saraswathi, one of the nine forms of the goddess, is seen as the goddess of education.
After writing on the rice, kids can write on papers or books. The function is known as Vidyarambham which can be translated as the beginning of education.
Two days prior to the Vijayadashami day, the prayers and celebrations intensifies and actually the last three days including the Vijayadashami day have more importance than other days. People usually displays small figurines or statues of different forms of gods and goddesses. These figurines are generally known as Golu.
The three days are considered very important for school going children too, as this is a time particularly related with prayers on education. Students may keep their books and study materials for worship and they are not expected to read or write on those three days. Schools usually remain closed for these three days.
On the Vijayadashami day, after the morning prayers are offered, the books can be taken back. In most of the places, all the little kids usually write prayers on either rice or papers, even though this is not mandatory.