Vishu is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala usually in the second week of April in the Gregorian calendar. It marks the new year in accordance with Kolla Varsham the Malayalam calendar. This occasion signifies the sun’s transit into the Meda Raasi (first zodiac sign) according to Indian astrological calculations, and represents the vernal equinox.
Vishu Kani ( Vishukani)
The festival is marked with offerings to the divine called Vishukani. The offerings consists of a ritual arrangement in the pooja room of auspicious articles like rice, linen, cucumber, betel leaves, metal mirror, holy text and coins in a bell metal vessel called uruli. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This arrangement is completed by the women of the house during the previous night. On the day of Vishu, it’s a custom to wake up at dawn and go to the pooja room with the eyes closed so that the first thing a person sees is the Vushukani. The Vishukani is later distributed among the poor.People wear new clothes for the occasion and the elders in the family distribute tokens of money to the children, servants and tenants. These tokens are called Vishukaineettam and are usually in the form of coins. People carry out this custom believing that in this way, their children would be blessed with prosperity in the future.
How to prepare/ arrange/ set Vishukani??
Ashtamangalyam, eight auspicious things, are a must for Vishu. This includes:
- A large vessel called Uruli made of panchaloham – five metals – or normal Uruli or clean tray.
- Tamboolam – Betel leaves
- Akshatam – a mixture of rice and turmeric
- Dharu cheppu – Kumukumam in a small container
- Grantham – Book usually Bhagavad Gita
- Darpanam – Mirror usually Aranmula kanadi
- Ambaram – Cloth – A nice clean traditional Kerala mundu (Kodi mundu)
- Kramugam: Betel nut
The Ashtamangalyam is common in the arrangement of Vishukani in various regions.
Next most important item on the list is the Kanikonna, a yellow color flower found throughout Kerala during the Vishu season.
Most people are ready to give a miss to most items in the long Vishukani list but not the Kanikonna. It is a must for all people.
Fruits and Vegetables
- Mango fruit along with its small branches and leaves
- Two or more Coconuts with its branch (Thenga Kula)
- At least two Cashew nuts along with small branches and leaves
- Small jackfruit (idichakka)
- Golden colored cucumber (Kani Vellari)
- And other fresh vegetables
- Nirapara (A measuring vessel filled with un-husked rice)
- Kindi (A traditional vessel with a tail used to keep water)
How to arrange the Vishukani?
All the auspicious items mentioned above are arranged in front of an idol of Lord Krishna. The items are either placed in an uruli or sliver plate. Items that don’t fit into the tray or uruli are placed nearby.Banana leaves can also be used to arrange all these items if your uruli can take everything. Traditional Kerala lamp called as Nila Vilakku is lit.
The arrangement differs from region to region in Kerala, in some places the traditional Kerala mundu is folded in to the shape of a fan and is inserted in to the Kindi. Sometimes the Aranmula Kannadi / mirror is also inserted inside the Kindi.
How Vishukani is seen in the morning?
The Vishukani is arranged on the previous night by the eldest female member in the family . After arranging the Kani she sleeps in the same room where the Vishukani ihas been arranged. She wakes up early in the morning and lights the lamp during the Brahma muhurtham that is between 4 am and 6 am. She then covers the eyes of each family member and guides each to the place where Vishukani.is kept.
After the Vishukani, the eldest member in the family distributes the Vishu kaineetam
The Vishukkani, also called Kanikanal, is inseparable from Vishu. According to the age-old belief of Malayalees, an auspicious kani (first sight) at dawn on the Vishu day is 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 year ahead.
vishu 2013 date- Sunday, April 14 , 2013