Vishu is one of the most popular festivals of Kerala and is celebrated with traditional fervour and fanfare. Vishu is the beginning of Meda Rashi, or Mesha Rashi, the first zodiac sign, and signifies the equinox according to the solar calendar.
The festival usually comes in the second week of April. This year, Vishu will be celebrated on 15 April.
Vishu is traditionally a harvest festival. People in Kerala, and Malayalis across the world, celebrate it with much enthusiasm, spending the day with family members, relatives and friends. The day is marked by feasting. In Kerala, people traditionally burn crackers also on Vishu.
The day begins early on Vishu, with family members offering pre-dawn prayers together. The night before, the woman head of the family arranges the Visukani — consisting of rice, vegetables, fruits, arecanuts, betel leaves, gold or silver coins or ornaments, a new cloth, a mirror, and a metal lamp. Getting up before sunrise the next morning, she lights the lamp, and wakes up all other members of the family and guides them to the lamp. No one is supposed to open the eyes until they reach in front of the lamp. Together, they see the Vishukani and offer prayers to God. It is believed that people must see Vishukani first thing on the Vishu morning for a happy and prosperous year ahead.
Konna, a special yellow flower, is considered a must for the Vishukani.
Sadya, a traditional Kerala vegetarian feast, is prepared and partaken together in the afternoon. The meal usually consists of rice, sambhar, banana chips, a few items made of vegetable, rasam, pickle and different varieties of payasams.
Later, people burst firecrackers.
Children early wait for the day as they get money as blessings and gift from all the elders in the family.
People also visit temples to offer prayers on Vishu.