Vishu is the astronomical new year of Kerala – celebrated on the first day of the ‘Medam’ (Malayalam month), generally on 14 or 15th of April every year. Vishu is one of the significant and unique Malayalam Hindu festivals of Keralites.
This festival is celebrated with great faith and exuberance. On the previous day of the festival, the eldest female member of the home prepares the Vishukkani (Vishu - Kani) in an ‘Urali’- a circular bell-metal vessel consisting of raw rice, a folded Kasavu Mundu (traditional cloth of Kerala), golden cucumber, a pair of broken coconut, some gold coins, mango, banana, jackfruit, and the beautiful Kani Konna or Kanikonna (cassia fistula) flower. All these are arranged with a small idol of Lord Krishna or Swamy Ayyappan.
On the festival day, the eldest female member of family wakes up and looks the Vishu Kani first. Then she awakens the other members of the family and takes them to the pooja hall without opening their eyes and shows them the auspicious Vishu Kani.
After the completion of ‘Kani Kanal’, ‘the first sight of Vishu Kani’ by all the family members, the elder members of the family gives Vishu Kaineettam to the other members of the family. Vishu Kaineettam is the ritual/custom of giving silver coins or money to the other family members and wishes them with blessings, prosperity and the success. The children of the family celebrate the day by lighting the crackers.
All the temples in Kerala arrange Vishukkani (Vishu-Kani) and Vishukkani Kazhcha on this festival day. Thousands of Keralites throng to the popular religious shrines of Kerala like Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple and Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple for the auspicious Vishukkani Kazhcha and the Vishu Kaineettam on this festival.
In the current year, 2012 Vishu festival falls on 14th of April. If you are planning to visit Kerala in the month of April, don’t miss to experience the traditional bliss of Vishu.