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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vishu memories

Vishu is a festival celebrated by the people of Kerala during the first day of the Malayalam month Medam. Contrary to what most people think, this is not the Malyali New Year 'coz the Malayalam calendar begins in the month of Chingam.
To me, Vishu is an incredibly beautiful festival which is made even more beautiful by the memories that I've carried with me since childhood.
The vishukkani is something that is set up in the puja room on the previous night. The colour yellow plays a very important role in the kani. Fruits and vegetables that are usually abundant in this season are used. A brass tray or an uruli is placed on a kolam in front of Krishna's picture. Ripe mangoes, kani vellari (a kind of golden orange coloured cucumber), ripe bananas, and jackfruit are placed in it. In addition to these, I added some non-traditional fruits and veggies like apple, orange and padavalanga (snake gourd) to my vishukkani.Rice and uncooked parippu (dal) are also placed in front of the deity. A small silver cup is filled with coins (increasingly being replaced with notes) and placed in the kani as well. A large mirror is placed behind the arrangement so that the entire kani is reflected in it. Gold, usually in the form of a necklace or bangles is also part of the kani. The whole arrangement is then bordered by the beautiful vishu konna flowers (yellow flowers). In the morning, a lamp is lit, casting its golden glow on this simple, yet beautiful arrangement.
The predominant memory that I have of Vishu is that of being woken up at a really early hour and being led with my eyes closed, by my mother, to see the kani. The belief is that if you wake up seeing the kani, the rest of the year will be good for you.
Vishu kaineetam is an inseparable part of Vishu. The elders in the family give money (it used to be coins, but that has now been replaced by notes) to the younger ones. It was a good way to supplement pocket money, and I used to visit lots of relatives on Vishu just to receive kaineettam. Kaineettam is given not just to kids - any person can give kaineettam to someone who is younger than them.
No Indian festival is complete without food, and no mention of a festival in Kerala is complete without the traditional sadya. Check out my sadya pics here, and here. Sambar, rasam, thoran, pachadi, olan, koottu curry, avial, papadum, payasam and manga kari are usually made for the Vishu sadya.
Now, in our family of three, it is my turn to lead my daughter to the kani in the morning. We had fun setting up the kani together at night, with her wanting to eat all the fruits right then and there.
Here's wishing all those who are reading this a very happy and prosperous Vishu.

24 comments:

notyet100 said...

lovely post,...

sra said...

Merry Vishu to you and your daughter. And your husband, of course :-)

Asha said...

Happy Vishu to you, enjoy.
I thought it's new year's day, glad to see the correct info here. So it's like celebrating the beginning of the season, sounds good to me. Anything to eat that yummy Sadya! :)

Rachel said...

loved reading it/ Happy Vishhu.

rekhas kitchen said...

A very happy new year to you and your family Enjoy the festival dear

FoodyGuru (Srimathi) said...

Wishing you a happy Vishu.

Cham said...

Happy Vishu! Great post.

Srivalli said...

Lovely post Jay..Happy Vishu to you and your family..your spreads look so yummy!..hope your lil on enjoyed!

Priya said...

Happy vishu to u, lovely post, enjoyed reading:)

Alka said...

Glad that u shared this,its so interesting how different religions celebrate same days differently
Warm wishes to ur family :-)

sowmya said...

Happy vishu...nice post

Cynthia said...

Jaya, thanks for explaining. I now have an appreciation and understanding when I visit other bloggers and wish them Happy Vishnu.

Happy Vishnu to you and your family.

Jayashree said...

Notyet, thank you.
Sra....thx and :-))
Asha, a lot of people think it is the new year.
Rachel, thx...hope u had a good one as well.

Jayashree said...

Rekha, Srimathi, Cham....thank you.
Valli, yes, she had lots of fun.
Priya, thank you...I enjoyed writing it.
Alka, I've always thought the same thing - we are united even in our diversity.
Sowmya & Cynthia....thank you for your wishes.

Uma said...

So informative post on Vishu! Wishing you and your family a very happy Vishu! :)

Madhumathi said...

Happy Vishu!
Nice post :)

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Happy Vishu... Nice write up... My first time here you have a nice space... Shall keep visiting you...

Vaishali said...

Nice to read about your experiences and a description of how Vishu is celebrated. A very happy Vishu to you and your family, Jayashree.

Archana said...

Happy Vishu..Enna special for this year? How much did T collect?Nice post.

Renu said...

Wish u andur family a very happy Vishu..though belatedly:), I never sqaw this blog of yours, this post is just fabulous, if reading it makes me so happy, how much happiness u must have felt in doing all this:)

Sia said...

jaya, very nostalgic and beautiful post!

Raaga said...

very nice post :)

Pritya said...

A very interesting post to read...cheers

sajith said...

Dear jaya,
Nostalgic narration about Vishu and beautiful post! I remember about my olden days

Happy vishu 2010

Cheers
prasad from
Vishu cards