A Hindu festival that is celebrated in the state of Kerala in Southern India is Vishu. It is also celebrated in the Tulunadu region (Udupi and Mangalore districts) in the state of Karnataka in Southern India.
In the Gregorian calendar, it is usually celebrated in the second week of April. With Kolla Varsham, as per the Malayalam calendar, it marks the New Year. The term “Vishnu” in the Sanskrit language means “equal”.
According to Indian astrological calculations, this occasion represents the vernal equinox and stands for the sun’s transit into the Meda Raasi (first zodiac sign).
Similar festivals are celebrated in the state of Assam and West Bengal in Northeastern India, in the state of Punjab in Northern India and in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. In Punjab, this day is known as Baisakhi (primitively Vaishakhi).
In West Bengal, this day is known as Pohela Boishakh. In Assam, this day is known as Bihu and in Tamil Nadu, this day is known as Vishu punyakalam or Tamil Puthandu(Tamil new year). Tuluvas also celebrate, this day as Bisu.
In all parts of Kerala, “Vishu” is grandly celebrated with much vigour and fanfare. Especially for children, setting off colorful firecrackers is part and parcel of this celebration. On this particular occasion, people wear new clothes which are regionally known as “Puthukodi”. On this day, elders and eldest of the family give money or coin, known as Vishukkaineetam, to all the children, tenants and servants.