Vishu 2020, Bisu Festival Kerala 2020: Date, Significance of Vishu Phalam, Puja Vidhi, Vishnu Kani
Vishu/Bisu (April 14, 2020 Tuesday) is a festival celebrated in the state of Kerala primarily, along with Mangalore, Tulu Nadu and the costal Kanyakumari area. It is celebrated on the first day of Medam (Malayalam) month, as per the Lunisolar calendar. The term Vishu means 'equal', and the day of Vishu falls on the day when the Spring Equinox completes. Astrologically on Vishu/Bisu, the Sun enters the Sidereal Aries or Ashwini Nakshatra and is celebrated as the New Year by the Malayalese Hindus of Kerala. Lord Vishnu, the preserver and keeper of time is worshipped on this day, mostly in the form of His avatar Shri Krishna. Unlike other festivals of India, or rather New Year celebrations of other states of India, Vishu is a sober festival but celebrated with joy, love and devotion. It is a day of New Beginnings and is celebrated with family members and loved ones. As per the Gregorian calendar, Vishu falls in Mid April each year. While Kerala celebrates Vishu/Bisu, other states like Punjab, celebrates Baisakhi, Bihu is celebrated in Assam and some other states also celebrate their New Year in and around the same time.
Significance of Vishu, Vishukkani: What happens in Vishu festival?
The festival of Vishu is about following certain rituals which reinstates how important it is to start the New Year by doing things which are good and positive, so that the rest of the year flows happily and successfully.
Vishukkani is the most significant and important ritual of Vishu/Bisu which is about the first thing that is seen in the morning on waking up. The term 'Kani' in Malayalam means "that which is seen first". It is believed that the tone of the year is set by seeing the auspicious things, which are assembled in a tray. The tray of Vishukkani contains Golden Lemon, Golden Cucumber, Rice, Coconut broken into two halves, Jack Fruit, Betel Leaves, Arecanut (Supari in Hindi), Kanmashi Kajal, a metal mirror, a sacred Hindu text, currency notes, Silver/Gold coins, an oil lamp, the beautiful Konna flower in its fabulous Golden Yellow blossom and the an image of Lord Vishnu/ Lord Krishna. The inclusion of the mirror has a profound meaning, which is that the person seeing the Vishukkani should also see himself/herself in the mirror, as a part of the abundance in the Vishukkani and understand that God resides within us. The Konna flower (Cassia fistula), commonly known as Golden Shower, blooms during the time of Vishu and is an important item of puja and part of the Vishukkani, it is also said to be a favourite of Lord Krishna. The predominant colour is Golden Yellow which by itself symbolizes abundance both spiritually and otherwise. Traditionally the Vishukkani is put together by the lady-of -the house the previous day/evening and kept ready in the puja room, for the family members to see the next morning.
No festival of India is complete without a special feast of the occasion. Vishu Sadhya is the grand feast enjoyed by all members of family together and is prepared with love by the women of the family. Vishu Sadya includes specially prepared dishes like Vishu Katta, Thoran, Vishu Kanji for Vishu, for example, Vishu Katta is a delicious dish made from Rice powder (the Rice is of superior quality from the fresh harvest), Coconut milk and served with Jaggery.
Visu Festival Rituals, Puja Vidhi, How to celebrate Vishu?
The rituals of Vishu festival are methodically followed with utmost care
- Family members wake up early.
- Traditionally the eldest woman or lady-of the-house lights the lamp of the Vishukkani before anyone wakes up and it is said that ideally the lamp is lit in the Brahma Muhurta. Then she blindfolds each member of the house and guides them to the place where the Vishukkani is placed and removes the blindfold so that the member can see the auspicious things and pray to the Vishunji.
- Recital of the holy Ramayan is done to bring in its beneficial sacred energies to the house and members of the family.
- The members of the family sit and feast together on the elaborate traditional specialties of Vishu Sadhya. A traditional part of the Vishu Sadhya is Veppampoorasam (prepared from the bitter Neem leaves) and Mampazhappulissery which is a mango soup, made from ripe or sour mangoes. The inclusion of the bitter, sour and salty tastes along with the other delicacies of Vishu Sadhya signify that life has all its flavours which must be taken in the same spirit and enjoyed.
- The tradition of elder members of family give money to the younger ones as a blessing of prosperity is followed. The law of giving and receiving is seen on this day as people are supposed to do charity to the less privileged by giving food or cash, which brings abundance.
Everyone is in the festive mood and to usher in the new, they wear new clothes. Women adorn themselves with gold jewellery on this auspicious day and men prefer to wear the traditional 'mundu'. People pray for good health, prosperity, good fortune, success and abundance for everyone in the family on the first day of the year. Children enjoy burning fire crackers to celebrate Vishu.
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