Vishu Festival of Kerala
Vishu is the Hindu new year festival celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala and nearby Tulu Nadu region of Coastal Karnataka. The festival follows the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar as the first day of month called Medam. It therefore always falls in the middle of April in the Gregorian calendar on or about 14 April every year. Vishu literally means equal, and in the festival context it connotes the completion of spring equinox.
Kani and Kanikkonna
The flower Cassia fistula (Kanikkonna) are of ritual importance in this festival. The Malayalam word “kani” literally means “that which is seen first” and in Tulu it means “auspicious”, so “Vishukkani” or “Bisukani” means “that which is seen first on the festival morning.
The traditional belief is that one’s future is a function of what one experiences, that the new year will be better if one views auspicious joyful things as the first thing on the day. Therefore, Malayali Hindu women as well as Tamil Brahmins with Kerala origin spend the day before preparing a setting, usually a tray, of auspicious items. This setting is the first thing they see when they wake up on the festival day.
Most of the greeting cards attached in this article contains the photo of ‘Vishukkani’.
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