When we were kids, we used to wait with great anticipation for Vishu– which falls around the 14th of April each year. Actually it depends on the Malayalam Calendar, and this year it falls on the 15th. Most Keralaites, especially the older generation, go by the Malayalam calendar for birthdays or any other auspicious occasion.
Vishu is a happy festival, filled with lights, fireworks and bursting crackers as part of the celebration. Other elements of Vishu include the buying of new clothes for the occasion, the tradition of giving money called Vishukaineettam and the culinary treat, the Vishu feast or Sadya.
The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukkani, which means “the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up”. The Vishukkani consists of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles intended to signify prosperity, including rice, fruits and vegetables, betel leaves, areca nut, a decorative mirror, the yellow flowers called Konna pictured above, the sacred text of the Bhagavad Gita and coins, all usually kept in the prayer room of the house. This is arranged the night before Vishu by the head of the household to be the first things the family will see on Vishu the morning.
Temples on that day are usually thronged with people coming to seek blessings for a great year ahead.