The Vishu festival in Kerala is the one to rejoice and it brings together all the Malayalees during the New Year celebrations. Vishu in Kerala is celebrated in a grand manner and is also observed in the adjoining states of Tamil Nadu. Vishu festival is observed on the first day in the Malayalam month of Medam and is an auspicious day for all the Malayalees. According to the Gregorian calendar, the occasion of Vishu falls on the 14th of April. On this similar day, Punjab celebrates what is known as Baisakhi, Tamil Nadu observes Puthandu, Assam indulges in Ronagali Bihu and Bengal gets into the mood of Naba Barsha.
Vishu Traditions In Kerala
- A lot of traditions and customs are performed during Vishu in Kerala. And all of them are observed (carried out) with a holy mind and a pious attitude. There is an interesting tradition of Vishu which is known as Vishukani or Kani Kanal (otherwise known as first sight).
- During this tradition, the members of the family after getting up from sleep see a prescribed list of items and this is the first thing they have to do on a Vishu morning.
- All these things that come to their sight first during the morning are supposedly arranged such that it brings good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
- The preparations for Vishukani are done on the previous night. The items that are to be viewed during this tradition includes a cadjan leaf book, ornaments of gold, brand new white cloth, a quantifiable amount of rice or paddy, flowers of the Konna tree, halved jack fruits, halved coconuts and yellow cucumber.
- All these items are placed inside a big pot and are placed behind the metal mirror and an adorned Lord Krishna idol. Oil lamps are also placed in front of the deity in a standing position.
- The head of the family should take a glance of these auspicious things for much awaited wealth and prosperity. The children of the house are brought before the arrangement blindfolded.
- Not only in houses, many temples in Kerala have the arrangement for a Vishukani during the Vishu festival. After the traditions and rituals are performed, they are distributed amongst poor and the needy.
- Members of the family give small tokens of cash or gifts to ensure that it brings forth affluence for the children of the house – popularly this tradition has been termed as Vishu Kaineetam.
Vishu Celebrations In Kerala
- To celebrate Vishu festival, people of Kerala prefer to wear new clothes (kodi vastram) and indulges in fun and merry-making.
- There are different modes of enjoyment. Patassu (firecrackers) are burst for marking the special New Year day. A grand feast is arranged for which is known as sadya and the ladies of the house take part in it. Traditional dishes of jackfruits, mangoes, pumpkins and gourd are a part of this feast, barring the dishes made from the seasonal vegetables and fruits.
- The unique characteristic of the Vishu feast is that it comprises of nearly equal quantities of salty, sweet, sour and bitter food items. The most popular Vishu food items are ‘Veppampoorasam’ and ‘Mampazhapachadi’.