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Vishu

The first day of Malayalam month Medam is celebrated as Vishu in Kerala. Vishu is considered as the beginning of the New Year by the Keralites. Begin an auspicious day; it is a common belief that the fortune of the coming year depends on the Vishu day. So Vishu begins with the ceremony of Kani Kanal, which literally means first sight.

This festival is marked with offerings to the divine called Vishukanni. The offerings consists of a ritual arrangement in the puja room of auspicious articles like rice,linen, cucumber, betel leaves, matal mirror, holy text and coins in a bell metal vessel called uruli. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. This arrangement is completed by the women of the house during the previous night.

At the dawn, the Malayali's begin the first day of the Year by waking up in front of Kani. The Kani includes gold ornament, white cloth, a measure of rice or paddy, bell metal mirror, flowers of the Konna tree (Cussia fistula), halved jack fruits, halved coconuts, yellow cucumber, and two standing oil lamps emitting sparkling light their eyes.

Another interesting features of this day are Kaayi neetal where the elder members in the family gift money to the younger ones. Vishu in Kerala is celebrated with great joy and festivities. The myth about Vishu is that is is on the Vishu day on which Narakasura was killed by Lord Vishnu for the welfare of mankind. Vishu is the second important festival of Kerala.

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