Vishu is one of the important festivals of Kerala. It comes in the month of April usually on the 14th. According to the traditional Malayalam calendar, it is the 1st day of Malayalam month Medam which is the astronomical New Year. Traditional rituals are followed to bring in another year of prosperity.
‘Kani-Kanal’ is the main event of the day. The night before Vishu, the mistress of the house prepares the Kani. In a big pot, coconuts, a gold ornament, a new cloth, fruits, cereals and Konna (cassia fistula) flower is kept. Behind the pot a mirror and the garlanded deity of Krishna is kept. Around the deity, lighted lamps will be arranged. Early morning on the Vishu day, the master of the house sees the ‘Kani’ and then the rest of the family follows. Children are brought blind folded from their beds to where the Kani is kept. The elder in the family give money to the youngsters (Vishu Kaineetam) and bless them. It is believed that the Kani we see and its good tidings will stay with you till the year ends. In Kerala, the Kani in the temples of Guruvayur, Ambalapuzha and Sabarimala are famous. Special pujas are held in these temples where the people go to worship and pray for a prosperous New Year.
The families then celebrate the day with joyous abandon by bursting fire crackers. The feast or the ‘sadya’ is prepared by the women of the household and the whole family sits down to enjoy the vishu lunch together.