Festivals in Ancient Kerala

Vishu

Falls on the first day of Malayalam month Medam (April), which is the astronomical New Year Day when the sun crosses the equator.

Through Vishu is identified with the Hindus religious beliefs, it is not in any way a religious festival. As per popular belief, the first thing people see on Vishu, the 'Vishukkani', is decisive to the year's prosperity.

Thus the 'Vishukkani' has over the years become a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like raw rice, fresh linen, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, the yellow flowers 'konna' (cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called 'uruli'. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside.

As Vishu ushers in a New Year dawn, people wake up to behold the ritualistic arrangement. Giving off handsel (kaineettam) to the younger members of the family is part of the celebrations.

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