For a prosperous year ahead

via www.newindpress.com published on April 15, 2007


Vishu, the sign of prosperity and good luck for Malayalis, is here. Ushering in new hopes and fortunes, this day falls on the first of Medam (April 15 this year). The whole town is all set to welcome another year, by viewing vishukani early in the morning of Sunday.

One of the most popular festivals of Kerala, Vishu is celebrated by every community that had made Kerala their hometown. Though it is celebrated in the northern parts of the state with crackers and fireworks, people in the southern parts also spend the day by visiting temples and buying new clothes.

Though there are many customs associated with Vishu, it is the Vishukani (auspicious sight) that ranks first. Preparing Vishukani holds equal importance in Hindu families just like viewing it the next morning. Before instant Vishu items captured the market, Malayalis collected fresh agricultural produces from the fields to arrange Vishukani.

Rice, cucumber, pumpkin, jackfruit, arecanut, coconut, plantains and mangoes are arranged in a large dish (uruli) for Vishukani. Gold, coins, new cloth (kodi), manuscripts, and konna flowers (cassia fistula) are arranged over this along with a mirror and Vishukani is ready. This is then placed before the family deity.

Early morning the next day, before the first rays of sun falls upon the Earth, elders in the family take the young ones blindfolded before the kani. And the day begins with the viewing of the lucky sight. It is said that the mirror reflecting gold and flower should be seen first and then the deity.

The temples in the city also arranges Vishukanis for devotees. Devotees throng the Attukal temple and Sreepadmanabha Swamy temple on the day. The Guruvayur temple and Sabarimala temple are also visited by lakhs of devotees this day to have a darshan of their favourite deity.

The day holds special excitement for kids and youngsters as they receive Vishukaineettams from elders. Coins are given to young ones, servants and tenants and even to beggars who call on the house that day. Vishukaineetam is a kind of blessing from the elders to the younger ones to have a prosperous year ahead.

The city shops have come out with Vishukodis and new stocks especially for the festive season. With discount offers and rebates available, Vishu shopping is catching up with Malayalis just like Onam shopping. The kasavu or kodi mundu placed on the Uruli is proof to the importance it has in the customs related to Vishu.

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