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Glorious welcome for a new year of abundance

Vishu is the astronomical New Year festival of Hindus in Kerala, the geographical, mythological and historical relevance is significant. Vishu has great similarity to the New Year festivals of Punjab (Baisakhi), Assam (Bihu), Bengal (Naba Barsha), Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka (Bisu) and Tamil Nadu (Puthandu).

‘Vishu’ in Sanskrit means ‘equal’, geographically it is studied that the direct rays of the sun falls on the equator twice a year which is also called the two equinox days, Astrologically ‘Vishu’ is the New Year day for Kerala and it often falls on the 14th of April and the day denotes the sun’s transit into the ‘Meda Raasi’ ( the first month of the solar cycle) which is the first equinox of the year, whereas the second equinox falls between August-September which is the official Malayalam New Year celebrated on Chingam 1st (according to Malayalam calender). Since it has no astrological or astronomical relevance it is celebrated as the harvest festival of Kerala and southern parts of coastal Karnataka. Mythological studies say it is believed that the demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Sree Krishna.

The arrival of the season is striking with the blooming of the’ Kanikonna’ flower. VishuKkani is vital on this auspicious day prepared with a Nilavilakku, gold, coins, grains, fruits, Konna flowers and everything that signifies prosperity with the image of Lord Shiva which will be prepared by the eldest female member of every family on the previous evening and the lighted lamp completes it in the morning. Every member of the family believes the sight of the objects on the morning of ‘Vishu’ determines the prosperity of the person for the whole year. It is ritualistic for elders to give a ‘Vishukkaineettam’ after seeing the ‘Vishukkani’. Money is given to younger members of the family, relatives and domestic households by the elder members as a symbolic gesture and the blessings are believed to stay for the whole year. In some parts of Kerala there is also a system of ‘Vishukkani Vili’ where children move from house to house calling ‘Vishukaniye’ and they are rewarded with Kaniyappam, a traditional sweet made of jaggery, coconut and rice.

‘Vishu’ conveys a message of good luck and prosperity, a new beginning for all auspicious launch.  As people wait to celebrate this occasion wishing one another the best for the coming year, let us blend to ignite the finest start for a flourishing New Year.  

 

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