Vishu fever grips State

via Courtesy: Pioneer News Service | Kannur published on April 11, 2008

Its Vishu time in Kerala and the people are busy for welcoming the harvest festival, which is celebrated with fireworks in this part of the State. While Vishu is a major festival throughout the State, it is special for the people of North Kerala. The steep hike in prices of essential commodities including rice has given a dampening effect on the festival but people are determined to celebrate it.

Children are mostly rejoiced at Vishu as crackers are in abundance during this time and its vacation time as schools are closed for summer holidays after the exams.

While there are restrictions on the sale of crackers in Kozhikode where a fire in a cracker shop in the busy SM street killed eight persons and destroyed the properties of several others last year, there are no restrictions in other parts of Northern Kerala.

The people of Thalassery and Kannur area are already in the Vishu mood and queues before fire works shops is a major sight in these areas.

Vishu is the new year of the Malayalees and it falls on the first day of the month of Medam.

As per the Gregorian calendar Vishu falls on the 14th of April. The Punjabis celebrate Baisakhi on this day while Tamil Nadu celebrates Puthandu and Assam celebrates Ronagali Bihu while Bengal celebrates Naba Barsha.

The auspicious day of Vishu marks sun’s transit to the zodiac Megha Rashi as per Indian astrological calculations.

The most important event of Vishu day is the ‘Kani Kanal’ or the first sight when one wakes up. Mothers usually arrange a prescribed list of items in a silver vessel.

The custom comes from the strong belief of the people of Kerala that good things seen on new year day brings good luck for the entire year. Women make preparations for the Vishukani on the previous night.

They would keep the prescribed items including gold ornaments, fresh white cloth, a measure of rice or paddy, flowers of the Konna tree (caussia fistula), halved jack fruits, half piece of coconut and yellow cucumber in a big pot. Behind this pot a ball metal mirror and a garlanded deity of Lord Krishna is kept. Two standing oil lamps are kept before the deity.

The eldest person of the house is the first to look at such auspicious things after waking up. Children are brought blindfolded from their rooms to watch Vishukanni. Many people in the State prefer to watch Vishukani in temples.

After this the eldest person in the house gives away Vishu Kaineetam or some money to all the members of the house. Immediately after seeing Vishukani crackers are blasted and in the northern parts of the State people compete with each household in bursting crackers.

Special dishes are prepared using jack fruit, mango and each member of the house eat food together.A Vishu meal comprises food items with roughly equal proportions of salt, sweet, sour and bitter items.

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