Vishu is the festival that marks the new year of the Malayalam calendar followed in the state of Kerala. Vishu is celebrated by the Malayalees all over the world on the 1st of the month of Medam. This either falls on the 14th or the 15th of April every year. This year, Vishu falls on the 15th of April, which is a Sunday.
Vishu is perhaps the most important festival celebrated in Kerala. It comes second arguably only to the festival of Onam. Vishu is a festival of joy, celebration and hope. Vishu Kani, Vishu Sadya and firecrackers are all important parts of this traditional festival. The festival also consists of dance and songs too.
Today, we shall talk about the most important part of Vishu, which is known as the Vishu Kani. Vishu Kani is the symbolic viewing of auspicious things on the Vishu morning. We shall also see what things are essential to arrange the Vishu Kani. Read on for more Information.
What Is Vishu Kani?
Vishu Kani is the ritual where the family members see the special arrangement of certain auspicious things in the morning of Vishu. It marks the beginning of the Vishu celebrations. The oldest member of the family who is a female is the one that takes upon the responsibility of arranging the Vishu Kani.
It is arranged the previous night. She then wakes up early in the morning during the Bramhamuhurtam (5 AM). She then wakes up the members of the household one by one and walks them to the Vishu Kani with their eyes closed.
They are then made to sit on the floor and then are asked to open their eyes slowly to see the beautiful and auspicious sight before them. This is called Vishu Kani Kanal or the act of seeing Vishu Kani.
After the Vishu Kani, the elders in the family give the younger members some amount of money or gifts. They also distribute new clothes to the members of the household. The traditional Kaineetam is a coin given along with some betel leaves and areca nuts. The younger members of the family then touch the feet of the elders and take their blessings.
Vishu sadya is the traditional spread of Kerala feast. Almost the whole morning is spent in the preparation of the numerous dishes and they are served for lunch on a beautiful banana leaf.
The Things You Will Need For The Vishu Kani
Ashtamangalyam are the eight things that are considered to be very auspicious and are an important part of the Vishu Kani. The eight items are:
1. Uruli: This is a large vessel which is usually made out of Pancha loham or the combination of five metals.
2. Tamboolam: Tamboolam is the betel leaves that are kept as a part of the Vishu Kani.
3. Akshatam: Akshatam is rice that is mixed with a little turmeric.
4. Dharu Cheppu: This is a small box or container that is filled with Kumkum or Sindoor.
5. Grantham: It is a holy book of some kind. The book usually used is the Bhagvat Gita or the Srimad Bhagvat.
6. Darpanam: Darpanam means reflection. A mirror is always kept in the Vishu Kani. Aranmula Kannadi is a special type of mirror which is the most preferred kind.
7. Ambaram: Newly woven clothes of the traditional Kerala Kasavu type are always a part of the Vishu Kani. It is called Kodi Mundu. Kodi is synonymous with 'new'.
8. Kramugam: Betel nut also accompanies the betel leaf.
Ashtamangalyam sets can be now easily found in the market and are a common and important set in most of the households on Vishu.
You may use any flower that you wish to decorate the Vishu Kani with. Flowers that are yellow in colour are considered to be more auspicious, as they represent prosperity. Kanikonna is a kind of yellow flower that blooms in abundance during the Vishu season. It is an irreplaceable part of the Vishu Kani. An arrangement of Vishu Kani is considered incomplete without the Kani Konna.
Fruits and Vegetables
1. Some mangoes that are most preferably ripe are kept. It doesn't matter if you can only find raw ones. Make sure that there are some mango leaves still attached.
2. Coconuts: Two or more in number are used.
3. Jackfruits: They can be ripe or be the small raw ones.
5. Kani vellarikka or the Kerala yellow cucumber.
6. A bunch of ripe bananas.
7. Any other yellow vegetable and fruits that you may find like lemons, oranges and mosambi.
Metals also make an important part of the Vishu Kani.
1. Coins: The coins used can be the normal ones or you may also use gold or silver coins.
2. Jewellery: Some jewellery is also kept with the Vishu Kani.
3. Nirapara: Para is a vessel that was used to measure rice in the past. This vessel should be filled with paddy grains. This symbolizes abundance.
4. Kindi: It is a vessel that holds water. it is bell-shaped and has a long spout to deliver water.
5. Uruli: It is a wide thick-bottomed vessel. If you do not have an ashtamangalyam set, you can use the Uruli instead. If you do not have an Uruli, you may use a tray instead.