Vishu Festival is mostly celebrated in Kerala, parts of Karnataka like Mangalore, and Kanyakumari in coastal Tamil Nadu. The Malayalees celebrate it as the first day of the month of Medam, which is the first month according to the Malayalee astronomical calendar. The festival is celebrated all over India but is known by different names like Bihu in Assam, Puthendu in Tamil Nadu, Vishua Sankranti in Orissa, and Baishakhi in Punjab. According to the Gregorian calendar, it falls on the 14th of April every year.
Importance of the festival
The festival is celebrated to mark the first day of the Hindu lunar-solar calendar. Although celebrated in most states by different names, the customs and traditions which are carried out to bring in prosperity and good luck into the New Year are not similar to each other.
Like every year, Vishu 2020 will also fall on the 14th of April of the Gregorian calendar. The significance of the festival among the people can be understood by the way people prepare for it and celebrate it. Vishu 2021 Sankranti time and date on Vishu Kani is the 13th of April (Monday) at 8:39 PM. Listed below are some of the things people do on the day of the festival.
Clean and Decorating the House
Just a day before the day of the festival, people clean their houses since, in India, it is believed that a clean house and surroundings bring in more prosperity. On the morning of Vishu, people decorate the doorway with flower garlands, banana plants, and rangoli. After nightfall, many of the houses are illuminated with colorful decorative lights.
Sighting the Vishu Kani
The night before the festival, the eldest woman of the family or the wife prepares a big pot in which she keeps coconuts, a piece of gold ornament, variety of seasonal fruits, Konnappo flower, rice, fresh lemon a holy book, a silver cup with coins and a new piece of cloth. This pot is then kept in front of a special mirror known as valkkanadi and garlanded idol of Sri Krishna with lighted oil deepams around it. This preparation by the womenfolk is known as “Kani-Kanal.”
Early morning on the day of Vishupulari, it is customary for the head of the family to see the Kani first thing after waking up as it signifies the divine sight of the Lord with the Vishu Kani. This ritual is known as the Vishu Kanal. After which other members of the family are brought in blind-folded to get a glimpse of the Kani. “Seeing the Kani” is believed to be auspicious and is said to bring in prosperity and good luck to the family members and the household for the entire year.
After the traditional ritual of seeing the Kani is done, the senior member of the family gives money or silver items as gifts to the children known as “Vishu kaineetam,” and the younger ones touch the feet of the elders and take their blessing. Money is also gifted to the poor, servants, and tenants of the house by the elderly people in the family. It is a belief that your wealth will grow in abundance if you share it with your loved ones, the poor, and the needy.
Eating the traditional Sadhya
Sadhya is served on a fresh plantain leaf. Sadhya, which means banquet in Malayali, usually consists of 24-28 of vegetarian food items. Some of the Sadhya items served during Vishu are plain boiled rice along with a variety of curries like avial, kaalan, parippu, thoran, pachadi, sambar, rasam, koottukari, erissery, banana chips, pickles, buttermilk, papadam, banana, etc. along with 3-4 types of sweet dishes.
In the morning, the people eat Kanji, which is made with rice, coconut milk, and spices. On the day of Vishu Pulari, family members, friends, and relatives come together to eat the Sadhya as a mark of celebration.
Visiting Places of Worship
On the day of Vishu, people go on a pilgrimage to the holy places of Sabarimala, Guruvayoor, and Padmanabha to pray and ask for the Lord’s blessing for an auspicious year ahead. Many people visit the local temples to offer prayers to the Lord and seek his blessings for a prosperous and successful new year.
In Malayali, padakkam means firecrackers. The important ritual of Vishu Padakkam is to burst crackers right after seeing the Vishu Kani, which signifies welcoming and celebrating the New Year with joy and fervor. The importance of the festival is seen in the fact that the Malayalis burst more firecrackers during Vishu than they do during Diwali.
Wearing and gifting new clothes
People give new clothes to their family and relatives. It is also a common norm to wear something new on the day of the festival. Men mostly wear traditional mundu and women folk wear a sari and jewelry while they go to visit and greet their friends and relatives in the evening.
If you wish to experience Vishu 2021 in its truest form, visit the beautiful state of Kerala to be a part of the celebrations. Travel all across Kerala by purchasing online bus tickets through the redBus portal and save big.
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