Vishu is a Malayalam festival celebrated in the state of Kerala and some adjoining areas of Tamil Nadu on the first day of the Medan month of the Malayalam Calendar. As per the Gregorian calendar, Vishu is celebrated on or around 14th April ever year. “Vishu” in Sanskrit means “equal”.
Vishu is celebrated when the sun enters into Sidereal Aries, Ashwini nakshatra, and represents the vernal equinox. It marks the new year in accordance with Kolla Varsham the Malayalam calendar. It is considered to be the start of Astronomical or Zodiac New Year.
Vishu is a state holiday in Kerala as it is also the Kerela New Year or the Malayalam New Year Day and thus it becomes all the more important for the Malayalees regardless of their religion or sect.
The day is celebrated in many other parts of the country as well, but in different names. In Assam this day is called Bihu, in Punjab it is called Baisakhi and in Tamil Nadu it is celebrated as Puthandu.
The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukkani, which literally means “the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up”. The Vishu kani consists of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like raw rice, fresh lemon, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, yellow flowers konna (Cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called uruli in the puja room of the house. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This is arranged the night before Vishu.
On Vishu, the custom is to wake up at dawn and go to the puja room with eyes closed so that the Vishukkani is the first sight in the new season. Reading verses from the Hindu Holy book Ramayanam after seeing the “Vishukkani” is considered to be auspicious.
Devotees also visit temples like Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple or Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple to have a “Vishukkani Kazhcha” in the early hours of “Vishu” day.
“Vishu” is celebrated with much fanfare and vigour in all parts of Kerala. On this small children setting off firecrackers. People also wear new clothes (Puthukodi) for the occasion and elders of the family give money, called Vishukkaineetam, to children, servants and tenants.
Vishu is also a day of feasting. The foods consist of equal proportions of salty, sweet, sour and bitter items. Feast items include Veppampoorasam (a bitter preparation of neem) and Mampazhappulissery (a sour mango soup).
On this day all Malayalees people wish each other Happy Vishu or in Malayalam they say Vishu Ashamsakal.
Vishu 2017 Date :
In 2017, Vishu will be celebrated on Friday, 14th April 2017.