Tomorrow is Vishu.
It is a happy day for every mallu child and (silly) grownup like me. So what happens during Vishu?
- There will be Vishukkani
- You get to wear new clothes
- You get to eat awesome Sadhya (feast) on a banana leaf : 26 items including 2 payasams
- You get Kaineettam from elders
Let me tell you about the Vishukkani which is highlight this festival. Kani literally means “that which is seen first”. So it is very important that on the day of Vishu, your kani is the picture of God. You don’t by mistake also see your face in the mirror as soon as you open your eyes. The previous night, usually the grandma/mother in the family will arrange the items for Kani. There will be a photo/statue of Krishna or Guruvayoorappan in front of the mirror. Then in an uruli like pot, fruits will be kept. There will also be flowers, new clothes, wad of currency notes and some gold. This is just basic things done in my house. In traditional houses, there are half a dozen more details that they follow which I have no clue about.
On the day of Vishu, early morning before Surya Bhagavan can say good morning, during Brahmamuhurtham (between 3 AM to 5 AM) the mother will come and wake up each member of the family. She will cover your eyes and lead you to the room where these items are kept. She would have already lit the lamp and you are expected to open your eyes only after she says, you behold the arrangements made and then you pray.
The scent of flowers, burning incense, ripe mangoes, golden cucumber and ripe jack fruit , the quietness of the early morning can give you goosebumps. As much as I hate any ritual, that feeling when I stand in the room in the darkness with just the light from the lamp and the fragrance, it is priceless. I feel so vulnerable and I must confess I love it.
Another great aspect of Vishu is the Kaineettam. Distribution of wealth. I was told that highly affluent families will not only give money to their children also to their neighbours and perhaps the whole village. Well, in my family, only mother Mary gives me money. My Dad conveniently does not believe or follow any traditions so I never got any paisa from him. Sadly for me, my birthday falls on the last week on March and Vishu is always in the 2nd week of April. There is less than one month gap and people are not very generous.
I also believe that they think I am all grown up now and will feel embarrassed to receive gifts. So these days I don’t get anything for my birthday or for Vishu. Seriously people, how can you stop following traditions? Also, is there a possibility to change your birthday to some other month which is not so close to Vishu?
On that note, I wish you all a happy Vishu 🙂