Monday, April 14, 2008

Vishu !

Happy new Mallu year!!

Today I'll tell you of the other of the only two Malayali festivals I know of. Here's the first one.

It is basically the first day of the our new year, and the harvest festival.

So every year we make (read Mom makes) this setting in front of the Gods called Vishukanni (meaning seen first on Vishu). It is the first thing we look at when we wake up. The custom actually is that the eldest lady of the house sets up the kanni the previous night, wakes up first and lights the lamp and sets it up completely, wakes up the rest of the family, who usually are supposed go to the puja room with closed eyes, and look at the Vishukanni first thing. It is believed to be auspicious for the year that follows.

This time I took special care to note what goes into the kanni. Mom first mixed 9 kinds of daals (pulses), kept it with rice.


Alongside were vegetables like coconut, white melon and fruits like bananas, mango, jackfruit.

Then she kept gold jewellery, silver coins, money, new clothes, kumkum, etc. Lamps are lit beside it and there is a Kanni Konnapoovu or Indian laburnum that's also around.


A vital part of the setup is a mirror, through which we should be looking at all these things.

And so, here is the final Vishukanni that I looked at first thing this morning!


Now we come to the kaineetam part. How can I not dedicate a special section to the Vishu kaineetam that is sort of the central part of this festival for all children. The elders of the family starting with the grand father or father give away Kaineetam to the younger ones. The Kaineetam consists of coins (now mostly notes) with Konna flowers, rice and the gold from the Uruli. The gold and the rice are returned to the Uruli and touch the eyes with flower. This is when you would see the kids back home become rich overnight, what with the large numbers of doting adult relatives.. :)

And what good is a festival of prosperity with out great food or our Saddhya, and fireworks too!

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