Vishu is a Malayalum festival held in the state of Kerala (and adjoining areas of Tamil Nadu) in Indian on the first day in the Malayalum month of Medam (April-May). Festival of Vishu is also known as the Malayalum New Year day and thus it becomes all the more important for the Malayalees regardless of their religion or sect. Simmilarly this festival is celebrated in almost all the places in India by the Hindus but by the different names. In Assam this day is called Bihu, in Punjab Baisakhi and in Tamil Nadu Puthandu.
A Tradtional Vishu Kanni Setting
The festival is marked with offerings to the divine called Vishukanni. The offerings consists of a ritual arrangement in the puja room of auspicious articles like rice,linen, cucumber, betel leaves, matal mirror, holy text and coins in a bell metal vessel called uruli. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This arrangement is completed by the women of the house during the previous night. On the day of Vishu, it’s a custom to wake up at dawn and go to the puja room with the eyes closed so that the first thing a person sees is the Vushukanni. The Vishukanni is later distributed among the poor.People wear new clothes for the occasion and the elders in the family distribute tokens of money to the children, servants and tenants. These tokens are called Vishukkaineetam and are usually in the form of coins. People carry out this custom believing that in this way, their children would be blessed with prosperity in the future.
Vishu is considered to be a day of feasting, wherein the edibles consist of roughly equal proportions of salt, sweet, sour and bitter items.Feast items include Veppampoorasam (a bitter preparation of neem) and Mampazhapachadi (a sour mango soup).