India is recognized worldwide for its diversity of culture and traditions. The celebration of different festivals in India is an integral part of the cultural mosaic. The moment we hear about festivals, life seems to be eventful and full of positive energy. Vishu is one such festival which is celebrated Kerala, Mangalore and Udupi districts of Karnataka and also in some parts of Tamil Nadu. The festival marks the onset of the New Year. It is a well known Indian festival which is celebrated on 14 April every year as per the Gregorian calendar. Vishu literally ' means equal'. On the occasion of Vishu, usually, the devotees visit some famous temples like Sabarimala Ayyappan, Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple to seek blessings of their beloved deity.
When is Vishu?
Vishu is the first day in the first Malayalam month of Medam (March – April). Vishu Date is 14 April. The traditional rituals followed in the festival is believed to usher in another year of prosperity for the Keralites. The Malayalees make elaborate preparations for this day to ensure that the year ahead will be a fruitful one by following the custom of seeing theVishukani (auspicious sight) early in the morning. This festival shares the spirit that can be observed in all the festivals of spring – the spirit of hope and expectations that a new dawn brings with it.
According to the calendar followed in this region, the New Year is celebrated during mid April of the Gregorian calendar.
The day is decided by the solar and sidereal calendar followed by the Hindus in Kerala and according to that Vishu is observed on the 1st day of Medam.
Timings On Vishu
|Sunrise||15-April -2019 06:18 AM |
|Sunset||15-April -2019 18:31 PM |
|Sankranti Time||15-April -2019 08:27 AM |
Significance of Vishu
- Vishu marks the beginning of the harvest season in the area. It signifies the transit of the Sun into the first zodiac sign of the Indian astrological chart – mesha raasi. The word ‘Vishu’ is derived from the Sanskrit word for ‘equal’.
- Vishu also coincides with the New Year celebrations in the other parts of India such as Punjab, Assam, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
- Vishu is a very important festival for the people of Kerala. The popular belief is that if your first step is wrong your entire journey will be unsuccessful.
- So, a lot of emphasis is given on making the right beginning on Vishu and hence, ‘Vishukkani’ is a very important part of the event. Kani means seeing and hence, ‘Vishukkani’ literally means seeing the first things in the morning on the auspicious day.
- Auspicious things are arranged at the puja room before an image of Lord Vishnu on the night before Vishu.
- The family members see it as the first thing in the morning on the day of the occasion.
Given below is the list of items used for ‘Vishukkani’:
- Raw rice
- Fresh lemon
- Golden cucumber
- Betel leaves,
- Metal mirror or Val-kannadi
- Yellow flowers or ‘Kani Konna’
- Holy text
- Gold and Coins
- Nilavilakku or bell metal lamp
- All these items are carefully arranged in a bell metal vessel known as ‘uruli’. The ‘uruli’ is made from panchaloham - an alloy of five metals representing earth, water, fire, air and the celestial space
. A preparation, Akshatam, made by mixing equal amount of husked and un-husked rice and turmeric, is also placed in the ‘uruli’. Gold ornaments and coins are placed at the center of the vessel. A bell metal lamp is lightened and is placed beside ‘Vishukkani’.
- As a custom, people wake up in the early morning on Vishu and visit the puja room with their hands covering their eyes and see ‘Vishukkani’ as the first thing.
- After that, sections from the Hindu Holy text Ramayanam are read. It is believed that the page from the book that you open first on the day of Vishu will determine the course of your life for the coming days of the year.
- Prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha who is known for removing obstacles and delivering results for your efforts. Devotees in large numbers also visit the famous Sabarimala Ayyappan temple to seek blessings of the deity.
- The New Year in Kerala is celebrated with great enthusiasm. People wear new clothes, clean their houses and prepare elaborate feasts to enjoy the day. Children burst firecrackers and seek blessing from the elders of the family. Elders in return give away money to the young ones as a token of love.
- These tokens are called the vishukaineetam and are usually in form of coins. People carry on this custombelieving that in this way, their children will be blessed with prosperity in future.
- The special feast prepared during Vishu is called sadya. It is enjoyed by the whole family as they sit together for the feast. Vishu Kanji and Thoran are the two traditional dishes prepared during the event.
- Kanji is prepared with rice, coconut milk and spices and enjoyed with Thoran, which is also made with specific ingredients
- Salty, sweet, sour and bitter items are prepared for the sadya to represent the different moods of life. Veppampoorasam, which is a bitter preparation of neem and Mampazhapachadi or raw mango soup are two must have dishes for the occasion.
- People visit friends and family and distribute gifts as they wish each other good health and continued prosperity in the days ahead.
Last Updated: 13th March, 2019