Vishu (Malayalam:വിഷു) വിഷു ആശംസകള്‍

Vishu (Malayalam:വിഷു) is a festival held in the state of Kerala in South India (and malayali's in adjoining areas ofKarnataka and Tamil Nadu). Similar festivals are celebrated in Punjab and Assam, in India, around the first day in theMalayalam Month of Medam (April – May). Vishu follows the sidereal vernal equinox and generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian year. This occasion signifies the Sun's transit to the zodiac - Mesha Raasi (first zodiac sign) as perIndian astrological calculations. Vishu is also considered as the harvest festival of Kerala and thus the importance of this day to all Malayalees. In Assam this day is called Bihu, in Punjab Baisakhi (originally Vaishakhi) and in Tamil Nadu Tamil Puthandu or Vishu punyakalam.The word "Vishu" in Sanskrit means "equal". Therefore Vishu is more probably denoting one of the equinox days.

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Vishu (Malayalam:വിഷു) വിഷു ആശംസകള്‍
This day on which Vishu falls is the astronomical new year day and it is celebrated as such. The Malayalis believe that the fortunes for the year depend upon the nature of the object one sees first in the morning of Vishu Day. In order to fulfill the desire to look at the auspicious articles, they prepare a 'Kani' (anomen) on the previous day for seeing in the next morning. In circular bell-metal vessel known as 'Urule' some raw rice is put and over it a folded newly washed cloth is spread. A golden coloured cucumber, betel leaves, betel nuts, metal mirror, yellow flowers of Konna tree (cassia fistula), a Grandha (book of palm leaves) and a few gold coins are then placed over the cloth in the vessel arranged in a decorative fashion. Two coconut halves containing oil and lighted wicks are also placed in the vessel which illuminate the articles inside it. A bell-metal lamp filled with coconut oil is kept burning by the side of the vessel. Early in the morning of the Vishu at about 5 O'clock, one of the members of the house, usually the eldest female member gets up and lights the lamp and looks at' Kani' . She wakes up other member, one after another and the Kani is shown to everyone of them, taking particular care not to allow anyone to look by chance at other things. The vessel is taken to the bedside to the members or if it is too big to be carried, it is placed at one spot and the members are led there blind-folded. Even the cattle are not deprived of this privilege, as the Kani is taken to the cattle-shed and placed before them to have a look.

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