Vishu 2018: Date, history and traditions of the Malayalam new year | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Vishu 2018: Date, history and traditions of the Malayalam new year

April 14 marks Vishu or the Malayali new year. Here’s how the festival is celebrated and some interesting traditions associated with this harvest festival.

art and culture Updated: Apr 14, 2018 10:41 IST
HT Correspondent
Children are brought near the Vishukkan which depicts symbols of abundance and auspiciousness.
Children are brought near the Vishukkan which depicts symbols of abundance and auspiciousness. (Shutterstock)

Vishu marks the Malayalam new year and is celebrated with great fervour by Malayalis across Kerala, Karnataka and other parts of the country. Based on the Hindu calendar, Vishu is the first day of the first solar month of Medam. This year, the festival is being celebrated on April 14. The festival marks the spring equinox (marks beginning of spring) and celebrates an abundant harvest.

On Vishu, Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna are worshipped by Malayali Hindus. Celebrations start in the early hours of the day in temples such as Sabarimala Ayyappan temple and Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple. Friends and relatives gather to prepare delicacies for the festival.

During Vishu, people meet their friends and relatives and enjoy a traditional feast. (Shutterstock)

It is believed the first thing that children see on the day should represent abundance. For this, the Vishukkan is prepared. Yellow flowers are gathered and placed along with money, silver and gold items, lemons, coconuts, a mirror, and rice and oil lamps and placed alongside an idol of Lord Krishna/Vishnu. Children are blindfolded and brought to the altar to see the decorations and start the new year on an auspicious note. People wear new clothes and burst firecrackers as well.

Traditionally, the eldest member of the family lights up the lamps and gathers each member, blindfolds them and takes them to the vishukanna. Kolams (drawings made using rice and flour) are also made in front of houses and on porches to mark the occasion. People meet and greet each other and enjoy a traditional feast.

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