Introduction: Hindu festival Vishu is celebrated with bandwagon in the south Indian states, such as Kerala, Tulungadu including Mangalore and Udupi districts. The grandeur of this festival evokes synonymous features as of Diwali since illumination and fireworks along with bursting of crackers add immense joy to the occasion. This day is celebrated as New Year as well as per Malayalam Calendar which is also termed as the first day of the Zodiac calendar. It used to be considered as an auspicious day that invited good luck in the destiny of the celebrants.
But enhancing glory and importance of Onam has outshone the significance of Vishu Kani while coming towards the end of last century AD.
Occurrence: in the second week of April (as per Gregorian calendar)
Significance: The sun passes across the Meda Raashi (first Zodiac sign) as per Indian Astrological calculations and reaches on the spring equinox. The equinox refers to a day when the sun passes the earth’s equator and both, night and days are equally long. This information has its brief in its meaning as it is an extracted ‘Sanskrit’ word that means ‘equal’.
Festival ‘Vishu’ evokes similar jest and bliss as any other harvest festival, such as Pongal and Vaisakhi.
Ritual and customs:
- Vishukkani: Literally, the word ‘Kani’ purports ‘the thing that comes first in sight’. Hence, the word ‘Vishukkani’ means the object or thing that comes first in view of Vishnu. So, most of the people undergo the ritual of arranging auspicious articles before the deity for inducing prosperity in their life such as:
- Raw rice
- Fresh Lemon
- Golden Cucumber
- Betel leaves
- Areca nut
- Metal Mirror
- Konna flowers
- Holy texts
- Coins and currency notes
All aforementioned things are arranged in a bell metal vessel, known as Uruli, in puja-room. Nilavilakku, a bell shaped metal lamp, is flamed before the deity Vishnu at night.
Custom for Vishukkani: Celebrants wake-up very early in the morning and hurry to their puja-room while keeping their eyes closed to begin the new witness the pious deity before entering into new session of their life. Witnessing the auspicious Kani their spirit touches the horizon of happiness as they feel assured auspiciousness in their life.
- Vishu Sadya: It stands for feast that shares the biggest part of all festivals celebrated in Kerala. Besides, Vishu Kanji, Thoran and Vishu Katta carry more significance as being the dish served to the deity.
- Vishu Kanji is cooked with rice, coconut milk and spices.
- Vishu Katta is a dessert made of freshly harvested powder of rice and coconut milk. It brings special delight when is served with jaggery.
- Thoran is a subordinate dish that consists of some mandatory ingredients.
- Other delicacies are Veppanpoorasam (a bitter dish prepared with neem) and Mampazhappulissery (a sour mango soup).
- Vishu Padakkam: It is an occasion on which illumination is done with lamps, candles and colourful bulbs in the morning and in the evening as well. Crackers are burst by the children for seeking joy and pacifying thrill soaring high in their heart.