Vishu is an important festival celebrated by the people of Kerala to mark the beginning of the Malayalam New Year. The festival usually falls in mid-April and is a time for family gatherings, feasting, and exchanging gifts. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various traditions, customs, and celebrations associated with Happy Vishu.
Introduction to Vishu
Vishu is a festival that is celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala, and in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well. The word “Vishu” means “equal” in Sanskrit, and the festival is so named because it marks the day when the length of the day and the night are equal. Vishu is celebrated on the first day of the Malayalam month of Medam, which usually falls in mid-April. The festival is a time for new beginnings and is marked by the exchange of gifts, feasting, and family gatherings. The festival has deep cultural and spiritual significance and is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the people of Kerala.
The Significance of Happy Vishu
Happy Vishu is an important festival in Kerala, and its significance goes beyond just marking the beginning of a new year. The festival is steeped in tradition and has both religious and spiritual significance. It is believed that the rituals and customs associated with Happy Vishu help to bring prosperity, happiness, and good luck to people’s lives. In addition to its spiritual significance, Happy Vishu is also an important cultural event. It provides an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate their shared heritage and traditions. The festival is a time for strengthening family bonds and fostering community spirit.
Celebration of Happy Vishu
The celebration of Happy Vishu is marked by several rituals and customs. The day begins with the preparation of the Vishu Kani, which is a collection of auspicious items that are arranged on a tray. The Vishu Kani is usually prepared by the women of the house, and it includes items such as rice, coconut, betel leaves, and coins. The first thing that people see on the morning of Vishu is the Vishu Kani, and it is believed that this first sight sets the tone for the rest of the year. After viewing the Vishu Kani, people offer prayers to their deities and seek their blessings for the year ahead.
Another important custom associated with Happy Vishu is the Vishukkaineettam, which involves the giving of money to children and young adults. It is believed that this act of generosity will bring good luck and prosperity to the giver. The day is also marked by feasting, with families preparing elaborate meals and inviting friends and relatives over for a festive meal. The Vishu feast, or Vishu sadya, is a highlight of the festival and typically includes a variety of traditional dishes.
Vishu Kani: The First Sight of the New Year
The Vishu Kani is the first thing that people see on the morning of Vishu, and it is an important part of the festival. The Vishu Kani is usually prepared the night before, and it includes a collection of auspicious items that are arranged on a tray. The items included in the Vishu Kani typically include rice, coconut, betel leaves, yellow cucumber, and flowers. The tray is decorated with a cloth and is placed in the prayer room of the house, facing east.
It is believed that viewing the Vishu Kani first thing in the morning brings good luck and” answer not completed, give me prosperity for the rest of the year. The first person to view the Vishu Kani is usually the eldest member of the family, followed by others in the household. The act of viewing the Vishu Kani is considered auspicious and is believed to bring blessings and good fortune to the family.
Vishu Sadya: A Delightful Feast for the Senses
Vishu Sadya is a traditional feast served during the festival of Vishu in Kerala. It is a sumptuous vegetarian meal that consists of a wide variety of dishes, including rice, sambar, aviyal, thoran, pachadi, pickle, and payasam. Each dish is carefully prepared with a unique blend of spices and herbs, making the meal a feast for the senses. The Vishu Sadya is typically served on a banana leaf and is enjoyed by families and friends who gather together to celebrate the festival. This delightful feast is an integral part of the Vishu celebration and is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Kerala.
Vishu Plays: Traditional Games and Sports
Vishu is also a time for traditional games and sports, which are an important part of the festival. These games and sports are usually played in the open fields and are enjoyed by people of all ages. One of the most popular games played during Vishu is the Uriyadi game, which involves breaking a clay pot filled with goodies while blindfolded. Another popular game is the Vishu Katta game, which involves the making of a special dish called Vishu Katta, which is made from rice flour, coconut milk, and jaggery. Other traditional games and sports played during Vishu include the tug-of-war, the ball game, and the coconut-scraping competition. These games and sports provide an opportunity for people to come together, have fun, and enjoy the festive spirit of the occasion.
The exchange of gifts is an important part of the Vishu celebrations. People exchange gifts as a way of expressing their love and affection for each other, and to wish each other good luck and prosperity for the coming year.
Vishu gifts usually include traditional items such as new clothes, jewelry, and gold coins. Special gift hampers, which contain a variety of items such as sweets, fruits, and flowers, are also exchanged during the festival. These gift hampers are beautifully decorated and are an ideal way of expressing one’s love and affection for family and friends. In addition to traditional gifts, souvenirs and handicrafts are also popular during Vishu. These items are unique to Kerala and are made by local artisans using traditional techniques. They make for great gifts and souvenirs, and are a great way of supporting the local economy and preserving traditional art forms.
In conclusion, Happy Vishu is a joyous occasion that celebrates the spirit of new beginnings, family bonding, and cultural heritage. It is a time to indulge in delicious food, play traditional games, and exchange gifts with loved ones. At Angroos we understand the importance of this festival and offer a wide range of gift hampers, souvenirs, and handicrafts to make your Vishu celebrations even more special. Let us be a part of your festivities and help you spread joy and happiness to your loved ones. Happy Vishu from Angroos.