Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Vishu..

Vishu is the first day in the first Malayalam month of Medam (March - April) and Varshapirappu is Tamil New Year. In 2009, the date of Tamil New Year is April 14.Virodhi (name of new year)Varsha Pirappu, the New Year in Tamil Nadu& in Kerala, is observed on the first day of Tamil month Chithirai. Chitirai is the first month in the Tamil Calendar. Varsha Pirappu or Puthandu, is observed on the first day of Tamil month Chithirai, the first month as per traditional Tamil Calendar. Chitirai 1 is an auspicious day for Tamil speaking people in India (Tamil Nadu) and across the world, especially in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa. In 2009, the date of Varsha Pirappu or Tamil New Year is April 14. Hindus that the fortunes of the coming year depends on what one sees first on the Vishu day. Therefore people open their eyes on Vishu day before the Vishukani.

Vishu -- Rituals

Varsha Pirappu begins with viewing of ‘Kanni’ – auspicious things. Legend has it that viewing auspicious items on this day will bring good fortune throughout the year. Opening the eyes before ‘Vishu Kani’ is known as Kani Kanal – kani means ‘that which is seen first.’ A similar ritual is also observed in Tamil Nadu during Tamil New Year

Vishukani is arranged on the previous night in the puja room or in an ideal space. The viewing of the Vishukani takes place during the Brahma Muhurta or ideally between 0400 hrs and 0600 hrs. Precisely at bramhamuhurtham - the auspicious hour just before sunrise, members of the family are brought to this assemblage blindfolded. There is a belief that to catch a glimpse of the reflection of these signs of prosperity in the mirror at the crack of dawn, would bring prosperity to the individual. The Auspicious objects include gold and silver jewelry, mirror( Aranmula Kannadi or mirror with a tail), new calendar, cucumber, mango, jackfruit, areca nuts, betel leaves, bananas, raw rice, coconuts, fruits, vegetables, Kanikonna (yellow flower known as Indian Laburnum) and other newly harvested items. One of the fascinating sights during this season is the flowering of the tree Cassia fistula. The yellow laburnum flowers, incidentally the state flower of Kerala, blooms when the Sun is at its fiercest and provides a soothing sight to the eyes.

The Vishukani is exhibited in an ‘urali’ –made from Panchaloham (five metals).or in silver plate or any tray. It is placed in front of an idol or portrait of Lord Krishna or Devi Bhagavathi.. Women draw beautiful Kolams or Rangoli on the day with elaborate geometric designs. The doorways are decorated with festoons, especially made of mango leaves. The traditional lamp – kuthu vilakku – is lit for prayers and is accompanied by a Poorna Kumbha.

Vishukodi and Vishukaineettam:

People buy new clothes (vishukodi) for the occasion and the elders of the family distribute tokens of money to the children, servants and tenants. These tokens are called the vishukaineetam and are usually in the form of coins. People carry on this custom believing that in this way, their children will be blessed with prosperity in future.

Women start cooking a variety of delicacies for the day`s lunch. The feast or the sadya is prepared by the women of the household and the whole family sits down to enjoy the vishu lunch together. The dishes prepared from the vegetables and fruits that are abundant in the season like jackfruits, mangoes, pumkins, a variety of gourds, and coconuts. A special food prepared on the New Year day is the Neem flower pachchadi and Mango pachchadi. It is a dish made of raw mangoes and jaggery or Neem flower or leaves and jaggery. The dish has a sweet and bitter taste and symbolically suggests on the New Year that life is a mixture of sweet and bitter experiences.


One of the most important events on the day for many is the listening to the Tamil Panchangam, which contains the predictions of the coming year. Vishubhalam,’ or the predictions for the next year, is read on the day by astrologers. Now this tradition has been taken over by newspapers, fortnightlies and other magazines. All most all major publications come out with the predictions of the next year for each zodiac sign and nakshatras.

The rest of the day is spent visiting various relatives, friends and exchanging New Year greetings. Presents given are money, fruits, betel leaves and areca nuts. Gifts are also given to domestic workers and others. Tamilians also refer the New Year as Puthandu. Vazthukal meaning ‘Happy New Year.As the dawn breaks on a New Year, be filled with prosperity and peace, andlove and joy And may every blessings be showered upon all of us.



Lena said...

i love reading you because you always give a lot of information on traditions and rituals. They are always very interesting :)

A kitchen scientist & a white rat hubby!!! said...

hi there..first tiem the pinky pinky hues of the blog...glad to meet you!