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Apr 9

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Submitted by: BN Kartha

Vishukani in Kochi 2007 Vishu is one of the two important events in a Hindu household in Kerala, the other being Onam.  A few years back Onam has been adopted as a National Festival, celebrated by one and all in Kerala irrespective of caste or status.  Now, coming back to Vishu, this literally cannot be termed as a festival, but depicts a day of rituals very religiously followed starting with Kani Kanal.   

Kani Kanal means the “first sight” after opening one’s eyes in the morning – for this purpose Kani comprising of cloth, gold, coins, grains and fruits and importantly a special flower called Konnapoo or Konnapoovu (Cassia Fistula) which flowers only during the Vishu days, is artistically arranged in a vessel called Uruli the previous night. A member of the household designated for the purpose, gets up early in the morning and views the Kani after lighting the lamp.  Then it is her/his job to lead other members of the family including children keeping their eyes closed to the Kani for them to view.  Every one while viewing the Kani prays to make his life in the coming days to be a happy and prosperous one.

The other ritual – the most important and only oneMore of our Vishu Photos looked forward by every child – is the Kai Neetam, a coin given by the elder of the family to all members of the family.  The children like this the most and expects a coin from every one older to him.  Getting Kaineetam from the elder members is considered to be a good and lucky omen which will lead him to a prosperous future.  Then a good sumptuous feast follows and for the children it is time to compare with others who got most as Kaineettam and then may be plan how to utilize the fund thus collected. 

This is, therefore, the most simple but very important and impressive ritual followed even now by every household, mostly Hindus, in Kerala and Keralites living outside Kerala.

1. This year Vishu falls on 14th April, 2008, the first day of the Malayalam month Medam.
2.  Vishu falls near the same day as Tamil New Year**. Hence, some may wonder if Vishu is the Malayalam New Year. Though Vishu falls on the first month of the Malayalam month Medam (which, this year, is April 14, 2008), and some rituals or observations may be similar between these holidays, Vishu is not the new year. In fact, the first month of the Malayalam calendar doesn’t fall until August-September, or the month of Chingam. It is in this month that the Onam festivities occur, yet this also is not termed as a Malayalam new year.
3. The title "Vishu Ashamsakal" means "Happy Vishu" or "Happy Vishu Wishes". Vishu Ashamsakal is how to say Happy Vishu in Malayalam. Ashamsakal can be added after any holiday as a way to say the same, such as for Onam, it's Onam Ashamsakal. Want to know how to wish you Kerala Friends Vishu Greetings and Wishes in Malayalam? Click here for a Malayalam video lesson!

Read about Tamil New Year - Pirappu - Tamizh New Year’s Day by Padmini Natarajan

**From other sources, it is noted that the Tamil Nadu government has decided that from 2009, Tamil New Year will be observed on the Tamil month Thai, day 1, which falls on January 14 each year coinciding perfectly with Thai Pongal day, both Tamil Nadu specific festivals.

tags: "significance of Vishu", "meaning of vishu", "vishu rituals", "vishu celebrations", "vishu ashamsakal", "vishukani", "kanikkannal", "kani", "uruli", "reasons to celebrate vishu", "kerala vishu", "kerala celebrations"

Related Posts/Sites:   Vishu in Rochester, NY - April 14th 2009  |  Our Vishu 2008 Photos  |  Vedic- Western Calendar  |  Pongal  |  Vishu on Wikipedia

A Vishu Poem by Cheryl Snell - 2009

Don't miss this article - Vishu- An Expression of Keraleeyatha. It is a long but detailed read on long, lost traditions, rituals and celebrations of Vishu. Also a good place to learn how to set up your own Vishukkani!

Vishu and Tamil New Year usually fall on the same day every year - April 14. To follow this and other Hindu and Interfaith holidays, see and subscribe for free e-mail updates to the India America Interfaith and Social Calendar                                                 

Photo of Kani, also known as Vishukani, taken by BN Kartha.

Vishu Kani video by BinduBiju



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Updated April 2011

Copyright ©2008-2011 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


5 comments so far...

Re: Vishu Ashamsakal – Happy Vishu to One and All

Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

By http://www.siti-di-casino-giochi.com/ on   Friday, April 09, 2010

Re: Vishu Ashamsakal – Happy Vishu to One and All

"Whatever the excellent and best ones do, the commoners follow," says Sri Krishna in the Gita. The visionary leader must be a missionary, extremely practical, intensively dynamic and capable of translating dreams into reality. This dynamism and strength of a true leader flows from an inspired and spontaneous motivation to help others. "I am the strength of those who are devoid of personal desire and attachment. O Arjuna, I am the legitimate desire in those, who are not opposed to righteousness," says Sri Krishna in the 10th Chapter of the Gita. The philosophy contained in the pages of the Bhagavad Gita is today considered relevant and essential to our understanding of ourselves even in the western world. Leading business schools in the USA such as Kellogg have included the Bhagavad Gita as an elective subject in their curriculum. Terms such as 'Karma Capitalism', 'Exit Plan' and the likes are being explained on the basis of the teachings of Lord Krishna and the message of the Bhagavad Gita.

Thanks for sharing that, bhattathiri. Very interesting and nice information. In fact, it's great if they can integrate spirituality into workplace on a practical level. Happy Vishu!

By bhattathiri on   Wednesday, April 14, 2010

SSB Academy

I am very glad then read your posting. I think your information is very useful for everyone……

By SSB Academy on   Thursday, July 08, 2010

Re: Vishu Ashamsakal – Happy Vishu to One and All

The “first sight” after opening one’s eyes in the morning (Kani Kanal) is a fantastic way to live life, i feel the need for such enlightenment as i trudge away my days working as a virtual pabut Kani Kanal helps

Thanks Elliot! I appreciate you spending time on my site. I am more happy that it inspired you.

By Elliot on   Thursday, September 02, 2010

Re: Vishu Ashamsakal – Happy Vishu to One and All

WOW!!! Thank you so much for your attitude, I really impress your article. This is wonderful content. I truly believe that other people who have already read this article would agree with me. Furthermore, I am surely confident that the benefits that you receive from this article will make a valuable contribution to your life. I will share with my friend certainly.

By http://www.MiterSawOnline.com on   Friday, September 17, 2010

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