What is Vishu?
Vishu is an Indian new year festival that is primarily celebrated in the southern Indian state of Kerala, as well as in some other parts of the country.
It usually falls on or around April 14th each year and marks the beginning of the Malayalam New Year. The festival is also known as Malayalam New Year or Kerala New Year.
Vishu is a festival that is rich in cultural and religious significance. One of the most important rituals of Vishu is the Vishukkani, which means “the first thing seen on Vishu morning”.
The Vishukkani is a special arrangement of auspicious items such as rice, betel leaves, flowers, fruits, and coins, all placed in a special vessel called Uruli. The Uruli is placed in front of a deity or a photograph of Lord Krishna, and is the first thing that people see upon waking up on Vishu morning. It is believed that seeing the Vishukkani brings good luck and prosperity for the year ahead.
Another important tradition of Vishu is the giving of Vishukkaineetam, which is a token amount of money given to family members, friends, and employees as a symbol of goodwill and prosperity.
Here are some popular dishes that are prepared for Vishu:
- Vishu Kanji: This is a rice porridge made with coconut milk, spices, and vegetables like pumpkin or beans. It is a traditional dish that is usually served for breakfast on Vishu morning.
- Thoran: This is a dry vegetable dish made with grated coconut, green chilies, and spices. It is usually made with vegetables like beans, cabbage, or carrot.
- Vishu Sadya: This is a traditional vegetarian feast that is served on Vishu day. It typically includes a variety of dishes like sambar, rasam, avial, thoran, and payasam.
- Mango Pachadi: This is a sweet and sour mango chutney made with ripe mangoes, jaggery, and tamarind. It is often served as a side dish for the Vishu Sadya.
- Ada Pradhaman: This is a sweet rice pudding made with rice flakes, coconut milk, jaggery, and cardamom. It is a popular dessert served during the Vishu Sadya.
- Paal Payasam: This is a sweet milk pudding made with rice, milk, sugar, and cardamom. It is a popular dessert in Kerala and is often served during festivals.
Vishu marks the beginning of a new agricultural year and is considered to be an auspicious day for farmers to start cultivating their crops. It is also believed to be the day when Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Krishna, and therefore, it has great significance in the Hindu religion.