Vishu Festival

About Vishu Festival

Vishu is a Malayalum festival held in the state of Kerala (and adjoining areas of Tamil Nadu) in Indian on the first day in the Malayalum month of Medam (April-May). Festival of Vishu is also known as the Malayalum New Year day and thus it becomes all the more important for the Malayalees regardless of their religion or sect. Simmilarly this festival is celebrated in almost all the places in India by the Hindus but by the different names. In Assam this day is called Bihu, in Punjab Baisakhi and in Tamil Nadu Puthandu.

A Tradtional Vishu Kanni Setting
The festival is marked with offerings to the divine called Vishukanni. The offerings consists of a ritual arrangement in the puja room of auspicious articles like rice,linen, cucumber, betel leaves, matal mirror, holy text and coins in a bell metal vessel called uruli.

A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This arrangement is completed by the women of the house during the previous night. On the day of Vishu, it’s a custom to wake up at dawn and go to the puja room with the eyes closed so that the first thing a person sees is the Vushukanni. The Vishukanni is later distributed among the poor.

People wear new clothes for the occasion and the elders in the family distribute tokens of money to the children, servants and tenants. These tokens are called Vishukkaineetam and are usually in the form of coins. People carry out this custom believing that in this way, their children would be blessed with prosperity in the future.

Vishu is considered to be a day of feasting, wherein the edibles consist of roughly equal proportions of salt, sweet, sour and bitter items.Feast items include Veppampoorasam (a bitter preparation of neem) and Mampazhapachadi (a sour mango soup).

Vishu Kani

The Vishukani or the auspicious sight is the arrangement of ‘konna pua’, a yellow laburnum flower, fruits like jackfruit and mangoes, vegetables like gourds and snake gourds, ornaments made of gold, bell metal mirror with a white, pleated cloth tied to it’s handle (supposedly used by Goddess Parvati), the traditional bronze vessal’Uruli’ filled with rice, items used for daily worship (asthamangalam), clothes with pure gold zari, a split coconut, some coins in a silver cup, some water in ‘od ‘, a traditional vessal and a ‘grantha’, which is a palm leaf manuscript or the Bhagwat gita.

The Vishukani is prepared by the oldest member of the family the night before Vishu and the family members supposed to view it only after midnight. The kani is place in front of an image of Lord Vishnu and diyas are lit up (these are usually normal lamps but in some cases they use lamps made of coconut halves).

Early in the morning of the festival, the oldest member of the family, after having viewed the kani and finished her puja, blindfolds each member of the family and sets them in front of the display.

The idea being , that all the members of the family look at the vishukani the first thing in the morning. They first look at the image, then the yellow light of the diyas and the kani in the yellow vessals.So the dominant colour of the festival is yellow. The Malayalees believe that the viewing of this display in the festival day ensures good fortune through out the coming year. The vishukani ritual is observed in the expectation of plenty in the new year.

Significance of Vishukkani Darshan, importance of Vishukani Darshanam. What is Vishukkani Darshan? When is Vishukkani celebrated? 

The auspicious sight or the Vishukkani is the arrangement of a yellow laburnum flower known as ‘konna pua’,  the traditional bronze vessel ‘Uruli’ filled with rice, fruits such as mangoes and jack-fruit, vegetables such as snake gourds and gourds, bell metal mirror with a white, ornaments made of gold, pleated cloth tied to it’s handle (putatively used by Goddess Parvati), items used for daily worship (asthamangalam), a split coconut, clothes with pure gold zari, some coins in a silver cup, a traditional vessel, a ‘grantha’, some water in ‘od ‘,which is the Bhagwat gita or a palm leaf manuscript.

The night before Vishu, the Vishukani is grandly prepared by the eldest member of the family and the family members, relatives and friends supposed to largely view it only after midnight at early dawn. In front of an image of the Hindu God, Lord Vishnu and diyas, the kani is place and the lamps are lit up. In most cases, the lamps are made of coconut halves plus normal lamps are also lit up.

The oldest or eldest member of the family, early in the morning of the festival after having largely viewed the kani and done her puja, she or he blindfolds each and every member of the family and leads them in front of the grand display.

The prime idea behind this particular ritual is that each and every member of the family views at the Vishukkani, the first item in the early morning. This act ensures good fortune during this year.