Rituals, Customs of Vishu Festival

Vishu marks grandly the Astronomical New Year Day. This festival holds a lot of importance for Hindus. On the first day of calendar of the Malayalese, in the month of Medam or in the month of April-May as per Gregorian calendar. With joy and mirth, the festival of Vishu is largely celebrated.

A lot of customs and colorful rituals on Vishu are practiced by the traditional people of Kerala. Most of the rituals and traditions are largely based on a strong belief that this festival must be grandly celebrated plus all the best things of the New Year’s first day will extend for the rest of the year.

Most significant ritual of this day is known as ‘Kani Kanal’ or ‘first sight’. There is a prescribed list of articles in Kani Kanal, on a Vishu morning which each and every person must see first thing to bring good luck and prosperity. This comprises a measure of rice or paddy, a cadjan leaf book, flowers of the Konna tree (Cussia fistula), gold ornaments, halved jack fruits, fresh white cloth, yellow cucumber and halved coconuts.

It is to be noted that all these articles are placed in a big pot and just behind this particular pot is placed a garlanded deity of Lord Krishna and the bell metal mirror. Also placed before the deity are two standing oil lamps are lit up.  A night before Vishu, preparations of Kani Kanal are perfectly done by the eldest or oldest lady of the house. Later the Vishu Kani is distributed among the poor and needy.

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