Vishu is the new year Malayali (Keralite) festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala and in coastal Kanyakumari nearby regions and their diaspora communities. The festival is marked by family time, preparing colorful auspicious items and viewing these as the first thing on the Vishu day. In particular, Malayali seek to view the golden blossoms of the Indian laburnum (Kani Konna), money or silver items (Vishukkaineetam), and rice.The day also attracts firework play by children, wearing new clothes (Puthukodi) and the eating a special meal called Sadhya, which is a mix of salty, sweet, sour and bitter items.

The Vishu arrangement typically includes an image of Vishnu, typically in the form of Krishna. People also visit temples like Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple or Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple or Kulathupuzha Sree BaalaShastha Temple to have a ‘Vishukkani Kazhcha’ (viewing) in the early hours of the day.

Vishu in Kerala

Celebrated on the first day of Medam or the Malayalam month or between the months of April and May of the Gregorian calendar, Vishu symbolizes the beginning of the spring season. Vishu, a Hindu festival, is celebratedin Kerala as the harvest festival and the astrological New Year of the Malayalis. Vishu indicates the movement of the sun to Aries or the Mesha Rashi and marksthe day from which the farmers begin the ploughing of land and other agricultural activities.

As per the religious faith of the people on the previous night of the Vishu festival a Vishu Kani in the prayer room or worship area of the house before the idol of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna by the eldest lady of the house. Vishu Kani is regarded as the symbol of good luck and prosperity by all Hindu Malayalis.In Malayalam Kani means “which is viewed first”therefore, the term ‘Vishu Kani’ means the first thing to be seen atdawn or the early hours of the day. The devotees believe this would bring them prosperity througqhout the New Year.The Vishu Kani consists of a sacred ceremonialpreparation of all auspicious goods considered to be the omen of good luck and prosperity. These goods include coconut, betel leaves, Arecanut,yellow Kani Konna flower, Kanmashi kajal, raw rice, lemon, golden cucumber, jack fruit, a metallic mirror, a holy book, cotton dhoti and coins or currency notes.All these articles are collected in a bell shaped vessel made of metal which in Malayalam is called “Uruli”.

On the day of Vishu, as per the traditional belief of the people all the members of the family have to wake up early in the morning by dawn with closed eyes go to the worship area of the house, to get the first sight of the Vishu Kani because it would bring them good luck throughout the year. Therefore, the Vishu Kani is arranged with great care and precision to create a positive picture.

Vishu Date : 15th April 2019