What’s the significance of Kani Konna during Vishu season?
It’s much more beautiful than what’s captured by camera eyes – Blossomed Konna tree (Cassia fistula in scientific terms), near to my residence. I’ve a special liking for a blossomed Konna, so are all Krishna lovers from Kerala. Its myth is directly connected to Vishu celebrations & Peetambaran (The one who wears yellow dress, none other than Krishna).
For Kerala Hindus, Vishu during hot summer is more significant than Krishna Jayanti & is widely celebrated too. As it’s the festival of Guruvayurappa, Thrissur gives it same importance as that of Onam. Like many other parts of the world, Vishu marks New Year for Keralities (based on astronomy) & Lord Vishnu/Krishna is widely worshiped. As per legends, Krishna killed Narakasura on this day, & hence devotees celebrate by seeing as early morning sight, the best things which bring them prosperity &happiness.
Highlight of the season is the blossomed Konna trees everywhere. If you go for google translation, it’s ‘Killed Flower’. Interesting? Do you know the significance of these golden yellow flowers and how it’s related to Kerala’s harvest festival, Vishu? Here I tell you the legend of Kani Konna.
How is Kani Konna connected to Lord Krishna and Vishu?
Here is the interesting story of Lord Krishna and Kani Konna flower. ‘Kani’ means first sight in the morning, & it’s widely believed, we should have good Kani (darshan) every morning, so that that day goes well. The story has a few versions, with slight differences. And here it goes…..
There was a young boy who was a great devotee of Lord Krishna & deeply wished to meet him once. One day he goes to nearby Krishna temple, & deeply moved by his devotion, Lord Krishna appeared before him & gave his golden waist chain as gift (which had coins-like design). The boy reaches home and shows the waist chain to mother & friends, saying Krishna gave him. At the same time, when priest opens the temple next day finds the golden ornament (Aranjanam) missing in idol & news spread like wild fire.
Everyone including his mom accuses him for stealing the Aranjanam & no one believes his words. Deeply frustrated and heart broken, the boy threw away the waist chain & it hangs in the nearby tree. Suddenly the golden chain changed to yellow blossoms & everyone got surprised. Thus they believed the boy & seeing the bonding between him & Krishna, started using Kani Konna flowers for Vishu Kani & celebrations associated with it. In other narration of the story, it’s mother who throws the ornament, saying, we don’t need it.
As the konna flowers very much resemble the coin shape, and yellow is very much closer to golden colour too, this story earned wide popularity over the years. Of course, we have a proverb, “Kathayil Chodyamilla“. No questions while telling a tale. Whatever it is, Konna flowers represent the presence of Krishna’s divine power during the festival season and enhances the festival mood, just as blossoming spring & filled water bodies during Onam season.
Konna flower is also recognized as ‘State flower of Kerala’
Kani Konna flower is widely regarded as a cultural symbol, and also recognized as ‘State flower of Kerala’. Many times flowers fully cover the trees, & leaves are hardly noticed. Sometimes they blossom earlier & may shed before Vishu also. Some trees may blossom early as January, while some during March-April at the time of Vishu. Due to climatic changes, some trees may blossom during Onam too, though very rare. Flowers stay in tree for long time and won’t shed easily. Whatever it is, people won’t spare what remains on pre-day of Vishu.
Blossoms on either side of road in a row, covering full leaves is a spectacular sight, and to be honest, am too much addicted to its blossoming ‘yellow’ beauty. I can watch it for hours, and never get bored. These trees blossom in Mumbai too, my friend told me last year. She said, she got it so easily for her Vishu Kani.
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