Vishu is one of the most significant festivals celebrated in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It marks the beginning of the Malayalam New Year and falls on the first day of the Malayalam month of Medam, which typically falls in mid-April. The festival of Vishu is not just limited to Kerala but is also celebrated by Malayalis across the world, making it an important occasion for the Malayali diaspora. Vishu is observed as a time for renewal, hope, and optimism as people welcome the New Year with open arms and pray for a prosperous year ahead. Let’s dive deeper into the festival and know its significance, and how it is celebrated.
Vishu 2023: Date, History, And Significance
Vishu 2023 Date
Vishu, the Malayalam New Year, is celebrated on the first day of the Malayalam month of Medam. The exact date of Vishu varies each year based on the positioning of the sun. This year the festival will be celebrated on April 15.
Vishu Festival History
There are several histories linked with Vishu. It dates back to ancient times, and it is believed to have originated in Kerala. The festival is closely linked to the agricultural cycle and Hindu mythology. It is believed that Lord Vishnu, one of the Hindu trinity, took his incarnation as Lord Krishna on the day of Vishu. It is also associated with the story of King Mahabali, a legendary ruler of Kerala, who is said to visit his people on Vishu day.
Further, it is also believed that Lord Krishna killed Narakasura the demon on this day while another says that it was the day when the Surya Dev returned. It is said that demon king Ravana did not allow the Sun God to rise from the east and Vishu marks the day after Ravana’s death when the sun could finally rise from the east.
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Vishu Festival Significance
Vishu is one of the most prominent festivals celebrated in Kerala. It is celebrated with rituals, feasts, and the exchange of gifts. It’s a time for togetherness, rejoicing, and coming together of loved ones to seek blessings for a happy and prosperous New Year. It also symbolizes new beginnings, victory of good over evil, and triumph of light over darkness.
The festival is a celebration of the new year, prosperity, and abundance, and is widely observed by the Malayali community around the world.
Vishu 2023: Rituals, Traditions, And Celebrations
On the day of Vishu, people wake up early in the morning and head to the temple to offer their prayers. They then wear new clothes to celebrate the day. Special dishes like “Vishu Kanji” – a porridge made of rice, coconut milk, and spices, and “Vishu Katta” – a sweet cake made of rice flour and jaggery, are prepared and shared among family and friends.
Vishu is celebrated with great enthusiasm and traditional fervor. The day begins with the ritualistic setting up of the “Vishu Kani” – an arrangement of auspicious items such as rice, fruits, vegetables, flowers, gold, and a mirror, all placed in a traditional vessel called “Uruli”. A traditional lamp, Nilavilakku, is also lit and placed beside the Uruli.
This arrangement is meant to be the first thing one sees upon waking up on the day of Vishu and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity throughout the year.
In addition to the religious and traditional aspects, Vishu is also an occasion for joyous festivities. People decorate their houses with flowers and traditional lamps and engage in games and sports such as “Vishu Kani Kazhcha” and “Uriyadi”. Traditional art forms like “Thiruvathirakali” and “Kathakali” are also performed during the festival.
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