Malayalee people celebrate Vishu as the New Year Day celebration. Usually, the Vishu festival falls in the month of April. The start of the month in which this festival is celebrated is known as Medam in Malayalam calendar. 2017 Vishu festival date is on 14th of April. Every year the official date of Vishu is set by the Indian National Calendar.
"Vishu" means "equal" in Sanskrit language. And this is not just the festival of Malayalees. This day is celebrated in different parts of India with different names. In Assam people celebrate it as Bihu and in Punjab this day is known as Baisakhi. Similarly it is celebrated by the name of Puthendu in Tamil Nadu and as VishuaSankranti in Orissa. The customs and rituals are different and unique in each state.The importance of Vishu festival and all the other festivals falling on the same day is very much for the people celebrating it.What is The Significance of Vishu Festival?
On the dawn of the auspicious day of Vishu, one should see the Vishukkani as the first sight of the New Year, to have a peaceful and prosperous year ahead. Vishukkani is also pronounced as VishuKani, and is a collection of various auspicious things like fruits, grain, vegetables, lamps, flowers, coconut, gold, mirror, Hindu holy books: Ramayanam or Bhagavatgita, etc. set in a large circular vessel which is made of five metals, with an image of Lord Krishna. This is kept in the puja room.
The golden coloured Casia Fistula, also known as Konnappo, usually blooms during the time of Vishu only and this special flower is used in the process of VishuKani. Golden coloured cucumber, tender mangoes, jackfruit, etc are the main vegetables use in the process. The people who have the special mirror, Valkkannadi, use it and others who don’t have it, uses an ordinary mirror to see it.
The VishuKani is set with very carefully on the evening before the Vishu day. It is all done by the lady of the house. Seeing it the first thing on waking up on the Vishupulari day is considered as the glorious darshan of God with Vishukkani. This ritual is called Kanikanal.Importance of Vishu Festival
The Vishu festival is a very important part of all the Malayalee people and the significance of Vishu festival can be easily seen from their preparation and celebrations.
People exchange greetings on Vishu day, and children enjoy bursting crackers and lightning candles to celebrate this auspicious occasion. People go to temples for worship with traditional chandanam or sandal paste applied on their forehead.
On this day, many famous temples like Sabarimala, Guruvayur, Sri Padmanabha temple etc. are packed with devotees, and here special pujas are held by many devotees of Lord Krishna.
The elders give money to the youngsters, which is a tradition known as VishuKaineetam. And different types of dishes are prepared in every home, called Sadhya. These preparations consist of same proportions of sweet, sour, salty and bitter items, like mampazhapachadi, jackfruit erissery, Vishupuzukku etc.
One more significant aspect on this auspicious Vishu day is that the day and the night are equal inKerala. This explains 'Vishuvam' in Sanskrit meaning Equal Night and day.
It is believed that Lord Krishna was killed on this day and that’s why this day is celebrated as the Lord Vishu Festival.