Vishuhttp://hallosushant.blogspot.com/Introduction The festival of Vishu is celebrated with joy and mirth on the first day of Malayalese month of Medam. This corresponds to the month of April-May according to Gregorian calendar. The occasion holds a lot of significance for Hindus as Vishu marks the Astronomical New Year Day. The traditional people of Kerala practice a lot of colorful rituals and customs on Vishu. Most of these traditions are based on a belief that Vishu must be celebrated well as the good things of the first day of the New Year will continue for the rest of the year too. Rituals and Traditions Most important ritual of the day is called 'Kani Kanal', the literal translation of this is 'first sight'. In Kani Kanal there is a prescribed list of items, which a person must see first thing on a Vishu morning to bring good luck. This include a cadjan leaf book, gold ornaments, fresh white cloth, a measure of rice or paddy, flowers of the Konna tree (Cussia fistula), halved jack fruits, halved coconuts and yellow cucumber. All these things are kept in a big pot and behind this pot is kept the bell metal mirror and a garlanded deity of Lord Krishna. Two standing oil lamps are also placed before the deity. Preparations of Kani are done a night before by the lady of the house. Master of the house is the first person to Kani and then the other family members follow. Children are brought blind folded from their rooms to see Kani Kanal, the first thing in thehttp://hallosushant.blogspot.com/ morning. Vishu Kani is later distributed amongst the poor and needy people. Reason behind this ritual is the strong belief of the people that the fortune of the rest of the year depends on the first object they see on the Vishu day. There is also a tradition to give small amounts of cash to children of the family. This tradition is called Vishu Kaineetam. People believe that this custom will ensure prosperity for their children in future.A large number of people prefer to see Vishu Kani in temples. A huge rush of devotees can be seen in the temples of Guruvayur, Ambalapuzha and Sabarimala where special prayers are organised to mark the day. People stay overnight in the courtyards of these temples a night before Vishu so that they see Kani, first thing on Vishu in the temple. Devotees close their eyes and set their eyes on Kani and deity so that when the doors to the deity opens at 2:30 am, the first thing they see is Kani.
Vishu is the first day in the first Malayalam month of Medam (March – 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 the Vishukani (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.The people of kerala celebrate this festival in a traditional manner. They follow the custom of viewing the Vishukani( the lucky sight) in the morning of the festival. The vishukani is later taken and distributed among the poor people.
The people buy new clothes (kodi vastram) for the occasion and the elders of the family distribute tokens of money to the children, servants and tenants. 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 families then celebrate the day with joyous abandon by bursting fire crackers after the vishukani. While the men and the children engage in bursting crackers, the women start cooking a variety of delicacies for the day's lunch. The feast or the 'sadya' is prepared by the women of the household and the whole family sits down to enjoy the vishu lunch together. The dishes prepared from the vegetables and fruits that are abundant in the season like jackfruits, mangoes, pumkins, a variety of gourds, and coconuts.
The young people of the village go from house to house, dancing and collecting money. They usually do this in groups dressed up as the ' chozhi' with dried banana leaves tied around their waists and masks on their faces. On this day, the people give money to them willingly.
By the evening they have enough money to spend in the Vishuwela (the new year fair). The evenings are spent in these fairs where there is a lot of revelry, with music and various dance troupes.
The famous temples like Guruvayur, Sabarimala and Padmanaba Shetram are filled with devotees. Special pujas are held in these temples where the people go to worship and pray for a prosperous New Year. They also view the Vishukanis that are prepared in each of these temples.
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