I take this opportunity to wish all the spiderkerala.netians a happy, healthy and prosperous NEW YEAR.
Vishu is nothing but the new year for those Indian states who follow the solar calendar. The Europeans and Americans also follow the solar based calendar but due the difference in the geographical positions and climates celebrate the same on a different day than that of us. However, as mentioned Vishu is new year and is an occasion to celebrate. In Kerala Vishu is celebrated in grand manner with the bursting crackers and other fireworks.
People of Kerala arrange the Vishu Kani on the previous night of the Vishu Kani day. The Kani is anything as per the concerned family's financial status. A minimum Kani is a bronze uruli almost filled with rice with a golden hued cucumber kept at the center on the rice and decorated with the gold ornaments, and the 'Kani Konna' (golden shower tree flowers - Cassia fistula flowers. These will be kept in front of a mirror and the idol of Lord Srikrishna. According to the conditions the families will keep fruits, vegetables, currencies, gold and silver items etc. It will be a sample of prosperity. The first thing in the morning of Vishu is to see this Kani before seeing anything else. The lady of the house will first get up and light the oil lamps and put on the electric light and bring each member of the house (their eyes closed) to the Kani, make them to sit in front of the Kani and direct them to open the eyes. The person will see his image in the mirror with all the items along with the image along with the original items also. This is to express the wishes that throughout the year his/her family to be in top level of prosperity. Just as the say go 'the first impression is the best impression' the first thing to be seen on the Vishu morning is the Kani with a belief and hope that throughout the year this condition or a better one will prevail in the family as a whole and to the individual members in particular.
Once the Kani is seen the eldest male member of the house gives the Vishu kai nettam in terms of currency and a new set of dress, to the ones coming out of the Kani place. This is not mere money and new dresses given but is the symbol of prosperity with the blessings of the elders. The children will be busy bursting crackers and fire works after the Kani kaanal. All in the family will take bath early, wear the new dresses and go to the nearest temple/s. Thereafter the routine of a sumptuous breakfast and lunch will be there to be shared.
Ramanathan A R