Keralites celebrate New Year as Vishu Kani
Every person in this world has his own unique way of celebrating New Year. In India, it’s according to Indian calendars though everyone celebrate December 31st midnight as New Year Eve. Vishu normally falls on April 14, the first day of Malayalam month Medam. It falls in line with New Year celebrations of India such as Baisakhi, Ugadi etc and also birthday of Lord Buddha.
Seasonal yellow flowers – Konna
Vishu and Onam – both are New Year festivals for Keralites
Though according to Malayalam calendar Chingam is the first month and Onam is the New Year festival, as per the position of stars and sun, Vishu is the New Year for Keralities too. Yet many people are still there who consider Onam to be the New Year Festival, as it falls on the first month of Malayalam calendar Chingam. It’s common to all states of India where April middle is marked as the beginning of New Year. Also many other countries across the world, mostly who follow Buddhism celebrate New Year in mid-April.
Let me tell you, both Vishu and Onam are harvest festivals for we, Keralites. When Onam falls in the blossoming spring when heavy rain has just gone away, Vishu falls in the hot summer. It’s a time when golden yellow flowers known as ‘Kani konna’ in Malayalam blossom everywhere giving a special look to Kerala. That’s the reason why everyone use these flowers for preparing Vishu Kani. From the childhood itself, I have a deep relation with Vishu as it’s the summer holiday time when I used to enjoy with my friends. Till now, I have not left even a single Vishu as far as memory is ok.
Decorated Krishna for Vishu Kani
Now let me tell you in brief how Vishu kani is done
Vishu is a festival of Hindus, related to Lord Krishna. As everyone want to see good things and have happiness and good thoughts when New Year dawn opens its eyes, Hindus see all prosperous things in the Vishu day morning aside Lord Krishna. It’s the duty of senior lady of the family to prepare Vishukani just one day before midnight and every member of the family should see it as the first sight of New Year.
Offerings placed before Krishna for Vishu Kani
As fruits, vegetables, gold ornaments, rice, betel, Krishna thulsi (basil), new dress and money are the symbols of prosperity that everyone wants to see and feel everyday, the lady places all these things in front of Lord Krishna’s idol along with Kanikonna flowers, before the midnight. Cucumber, green mangoes and jack fruit are must. There was an age when people used to place offerings from their their own cultivated lands. Those glorious Vishu days have become nostalgic to many senior members of Hindu families nowadays. A mirror is also placed to reflect everything and make our happiness double. The person who views the Vishukani should see his face reflected in mirror too.
Then senior most person of the family gives coins to members, known as “Vishu kaineettam’. Kids used to enjoy it most during the glorious yesterdays. New dress called ‘Kodi’ is also presented occasionally. Lunch is of course, vegetarian Kerala meal with special sweet item, Vishukatta. Not only Krishna temples, but all temples of Kerala prepare Vishukani and celebrate this auspicious day in a grand manner. Yet it’s so special for Guruvayur temple. All temples give coins to the visitors of that day morning. Let me add one more information, Kani means first sight of a day and Vishu Kani means First sight of Vishu day.
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