Vishu – Festival of Kerala

Vishu is a New Year festival celebrated in the state of Kerala. This festival is celebrated with joy and mirth. This is the first day of Malayalese month of Medam. Vishu generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian calendar. On the same day Punjab celebrates Baisakhi, Tamil Nadu celebrates Puthandu, Assam celebrates Ronagali Bihu and Bengal celebrates Naba Barsha. “Vishu” in Sanskrit means “equal”. Thus Vishu denotes one of the equinox days.

The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukkani and is the first to be seen on the Vishu day. The festival is marked with offerings to the divine called Vishukkani. The offerings consists of a traditional arrangement in the puja room of auspicious articles like rice, linen, cucumber, betal leaves, metal mirror, holy text and coins in a bell metal vessel called uruli. Alongside a lighted bell metal lamp called “nilavilkku” is also placed. The arrangement is done by the women of the house on the previous night. The elder member of the house wakes up with is eyes closed and the first thing he sees in the morning is the Vishukkani. Later all members of the house are brought to the puja room with their eyes closed and they too see the Vishukkani. The elder member gives tokens of money to the children. This token is called “Vishukkaineetam” and is usually in the form of coins. Children wear new clothes on this day. It is believed that children will be blessed with prosperity in the future.

Source by Hema Dheeraj Bafna