By | 4/10/2009 12:51:00 AM Leave a Comment
Kani Konna(Cassia fistula),Kerala's regional flower,is a popular vishukanni

Vishu is a festival held in the state of Kerala in South India(and malayali's and Palakkad tamils in adjoining areas of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu).Similar festivals are celebrated in Punjab and Assam,in India,around the first day in the Malayalam Year of Medam(April – May).Vishu follows the sidereal vernal equinox and generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian year.This occasion signifies the Sun's transit to the zodiac-Mesha Raasi (first zodiac sign) as per Indian astrological calculations.Vishu is also considered as the harvest festival of Kerala and thus the importance of this day to all Malayalees.In Assam this day is called Bihu,in Punjab Baisakhi(originally Vaishakhi)and in Tamil Nadu Tamil Puthandu or Vishu punyakalam.The word "Vishu" in Sanskrit means "equal".Therefore Vishu is more probably denoting one of the equinox days.
Among the various Hindu festivals in Kerala,Vishu occupies a unique position in more than one respect.As symbol of the unostentatious Malayali,Vishu is free from the usual pomp and show and merry-making associated with other festivities. When almost all the festivals are connected in some way or other with religion,Vishu has nothing to do with it,though it is observed with religious solemnity.The first day for Medam is the unchangeable day of Vishu,whereas other festivals are determined according to the lunar asterisms on which they fall.
Vishukkani or Kanikanal:
The Vishukkani,also called Kanikanal,is inseparable from Vishu.According to the age-old belief of Malayalees,an auspicious kani(first sight)at the crack of dawn on the Vishu day would prove lucky for the entire year.As a result,the Vishukkani is prepared with a lot of care to make it the most positive sight so as to bring alive a wonderful,propitious and prosperous new year!Normally,the responsibility to put the Kani in order falls on the experienced shoulders of the eldest lady of the house.A traditional Kani is prepared as described below.There could be minor deviations from place to place.There are also beliefs that if you do not see a proper Vishukkani,then you will lose a year from your life or have bad luck,depending on how much you see.
Vishu Traditions and Customs:
Traditional people of Kerala celebrated Vishu with lot of joy and mirth.One very interesting custom of Vishu is Vishukani or Kani Kanal(first sight).Under this tradition there is a prescribed list of items that people see first thing on a Vishu morning.The custom stems from the strong belief of the people of Kerala that good things seen on the New Year day brings good luck for the entire year.Ladies of the house make preparation for Vishukani on a previous night.They would keep prescribed items including a cadjan leaf book,gold ornaments,fresh white cloth,a measure of rice or paddy,flowers of the Konna tree (Cussia fistula),halved jack fruits,halved coconuts and yellow cucumber in a big pot.Behind this pot is kept the bell metal mirror and a garlanded deity of Lord Krishna.Two standing oil lamps are also placed before the deity.Master of the house is the first person to take a look at auspicious things.Children are brought blind folded from their rooms to watch Vishukani.Many people in Kerala prefer to perform Vishukani in temples.Vishukani is offered to Gods and is later distributed amongst poor and needy.
Children are given gifts or small amount of cash on the Vishu Day in a belief that it ensures prosperity for children.This tradition is called Vishu Kaineetam.
Newer Post Older Post Home