Kerala is all set to celebrate the harvest festival of Vishu tomorrow, which is the first day of the month of Medam in Malayalam calendar. Hindus celebrate this festival in different names like Baisakhi, Mesadi, Bihu in different parts of India. Vishukani is the most important ritual on Vishu festival in Kerala. Temples like Sabarimala and Guruvayoor temple will witness unprecedented rush of pilgrims who congregate to have the Vishukani darshanam.
Vishu kani is the offering of farm produce, fruits and vegetables to Lord as a thanks giving to a bountiful harvest. The native crops of Kerala like mangoes, jackfruit, bananas etc occupy a prominent place in Kani which is arranged in the traditional vessel of uruli ( a shallow round vessel) made of brass. The golden shower flowers, known as kanikonna forms an inevitable item in the kani. The elders of the family give Kaineetanm ( cash gifts) that represent a prosperous year ahead to the rest of the family. New clothes, fire works, gifts and above all the traditional Kerala style luncheon with many curries , pappadam and payasam ( desserts) add up the fervour of this festival.
Vishu festival also marks the day of Mesha Sankranti during which Sun transits to the first zodiac of Aries. The word Vishu literally means the equinox and is considered as the astrological New Year day as well. Though the break neck speed of modern lives have robbed off the charm and traditional flavour of many of our festivals, even today Malayaless look forward to celebrate Vishu with zest and enthusiasm. Vishu is not just another holiday, it is part of our culture and identity. Let us celebrate the way that it was intended to, without diluting the essence to suit our convenience:)
Karma Kerala wishes all its readers a happy and prosperous Vishu