Keralites all over the world are set to celebrate the Hindu New Year, Vishu. This year, the festival will be observed Thursday, April 14.
The auspicious day begins with Vishukkani, which is the first thing devotees see soon after waking up from sleep in the morning. For the traditional New Year sighting, elders of the family arrange holy texts, coins, rice, fruits, vegetables, metal mirror, betel leaves, arecanut, kanikkonna flowers (Cassia fistula) and lighted brass lamps in the prayer room near Lord Krishna's statue that will be decorated with garlands.
Happy Vishu: Best messages, picture greetings and wishes
Following this, elders give money to the younger ones and this gesture is known as Vishu kaineettam, as a symbolic representation of wealth and sharing. The festival is also known for Puthukodi (buying new clothes), Vishu Sadya (feast) and Vishupadakkam (firecrackers). The sumptuous lunch will have different varieties of items, including mampazha pulissery, Vishu kanji, Vishu katta, payasam, among many others.
Devotees also visit the popular Sabarimala and Guruvayur temples for the Vishukkani Kazhcha during the early hours of the day. Meanwhile, the first day of the solar calendar is celebrated as Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Bisu in Mangalore and Udupi, Ugadi in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra.
While some believe that demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna on Vishu, others relate the festival to the killing of Ravana, the demon king, and is said to be the day from which Surya deva (Sun God) began to rise from the East.
Check here to find some of the popular songs related to Vishu:
The song, "Kanikaanum neram kamalanethrante," sung by KS Chithra is the most popular song in Malayalam as a prayer to Lord Krishna.