All set for ‘Vishu’ festival

via http://www.asianetindia.com/news/set-vishu-festival_146322.html published on April 14, 2010

Thiruvananthapuram: Malayalis all over the world are preparing to celebrate Vishu, the festival of plenty, tomorrow. At a time when the price of all essential commodities for Vishu has become a pricey affair.

Because of the dry spell that’s prevailing across the state vegetable prices have touched new heights.

Due to the price rise the ‘kani’ consists of just two or three fruits and vegetables in many households instead of an elaborate display with ‘kanivellari’, jackfruit, mangoes, pumpkins and gourds.

The price of cucumber has gone up from Rs 13 a kg last month to Rs 20 this week. The price of other vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and even onions have increased. The price of lady’s finger has gone up from Rs 22 a kg in March to Rs 40 this week. Long beans are priced at Rs 40 a kg from last month’s Rs 35.

Vishu festivities are not complete without bursting a bunch of firecrackers. Many Malayalis start fireworks just after ‘Vishukani’ in the wee hours. Traders said that firecrackers are less in demand this year. Sparklers and chakras are the fast moving items. Many new items are available in the market most people prefer sparklers for Vishu.

Vishu is one of the major festivals of Malayalees and is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm in the state. Periodically celebrated every year, the Vishu festival has tremendous social and cultural significance as for every Malayalee, in any part of the world, Vishu ushers in a new auspicious beginning.

According to Malayalam calendar Vishu falls on the first day of the month of Medam (April). It also coincides with the astronomical New Year day when the sun crosses the equator and is equally considered and celebrated as New Year in Kerala. According to English Calendar, the date of Vishu corresponds to April 14 every year. Rarely, the date gets deferred by a day as Vishu is reckoned according to solar calendar and not the lunar calendar.

People of Kerala celebrate the Vishu festival with much enthusiasm and devotion. And as the festival has much importance in the social milieu of the state, the entire state declares the day as a public holiday.

Malayalees wake up early in the morning to prepare for the day. And the celebrations begin with the customary Vishukkani, said to be the most sought aftter ritual of the day. People also pay a visit to their temples and pray for good times and a prosperous year ahead.

As a tradition Malayalees dress up in new clothing during the day and also gifts new clothing to their beloved ones. Earlier, in a run up to the festival, there used to be fairs known as Vishu-chanda in the villages of Kerala where farmers used to bring their newly cultivated vegetables, fruits and household products for sale and even exchange.

Even today, people in this part of the world indulge in shopping as gifting of new clothes is very much part of Vishu celebrations. Bursting crackers, especially by children in the family, is considered to be a major episode of celebrations. A sumptuous feast with a variety of traditional delicacies is served for the day’s lunch and the whole family sits down to enjoy the Vishu lunch together. Of late, Vishu is being considered as a perfect occasion for family reunion too.

Those who are away from home return to their ancestral homes with loads of gifts and fire crackers to be with their beloved ones and the day is spent in total merriment.

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