Vishu Festival Of Kerala

Vishu, the traditional new year in Kerala, is a time when the state comes alive with vibrant and colorful festivities, traditions, and delicious cuisine. This festival marks the beginning of a new year according to the Malayalam calendar. If you're looking for an authentic and culturally enriching experience, then the best time to visit Kerala is during the Vishu festival.

Significance of Vishu

Vishu is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Medam, which falls on April 15th in 2023. Vishu means "equal" and is celebrated as the beginning of the new year in Kerala. The festival is marked by a lot of rituals, customs, and traditional practices, making it an essential event in the state's cultural calendar.

On the day of Vishu, which is the first day of the astronomical year, Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna are worshipped because Lord Vishnu is revered as the ‘God of Time’. Moreover, this day marks the anniversary of Lord Krishna's defeat against the demon Narakasura, thus, Krishna idols are displayed in the Vishu Kani.

Vishu Kani means "the first thing seen on Vishu”. It is a Vishu celebration tradition where a set of items, including rice, gold, money, a mirror, flowers, and fruits, are arranged in a vessel called urali. The Vishu Kani is arranged the night before the festival, and the first thing people see on the day of the festival is this arrangement. The belief is that the first thing a person sees in the morning of Vishu will determine their fortunes for the rest of the year. After viewing the Vishu Kani, people take a bath and wear new clothes. 

The significance of Vishu in Kerala lies in the fact that it marks the beginning of a new agricultural cycle. It is considered an auspicious day for farmers, as it is believed that a good harvest during the coming year depends on how the first day of the year goes. Therefore, farmers begin their work on this day with the hope of a bountiful harvest.

Vishu is a festival of lights, and people light up their houses with traditional lamps called nilavilakku. People also burst firecrackers to celebrate the festival.

Also Read: Delectable Dishes to Try in Kerala on Vishu

Special Traditions of Vishu

The Vishu festival of Kerala is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and traditional fervor. The traditions associated with the festival are deeply rooted in the culture and heritage of Kerala and are a testament to the state's rich history and traditions. The Vishu celebration in Kerala begins early in the morning with the viewing of the Vishu Kani.

Apart from the Vishu Kani, there are several other traditions associated with Vishu. One such tradition is the Vishu Kodi, which is a flag hoisted in temples and houses. The flag is made of cloth and adorned with of Lord Vishnu and other gods.

Another popular tradition is the Vishu Kaineettam, where people gift new clothes and other items to their loved ones as a gesture of kindness and generosity; this is believed to bring blessings to the giver. People celebrate this festival by playing traditional musical instruments like the chenda, maddalam, and veena.

Special Cuisine of Vishu

People in Kerala indulge in traditional delicacies that are unique to this festival. Vishu cuisine is an important aspect of the celebrations, with a range of delicious vegetarian dishes prepared and served as part of the Vishu Sadya, the grand feast on banana leaves. Veppampoorasam, a bitter neem concoction, and Mambazhappulissery, a sour or ripe mango soup, are two important dishes of Vishu.

Here are some more delicacies relished in Kerala during the festival:

  • Sadya: The traditional Sadya is a grand vegetarian feast consisting of rice, sambar, aviyal, thoran, pachadi, and payasam, among other delicacies.
  • Olan: One of the most important dishes served during the Vishu Sadya is the Olan, a simple but flavorful dish made with white pumpkin, ash gourd, and coconut milk. The vegetables are simmered in coconut milk with green chilies and curry leaves, giving it a mild but distinctive flavor.
  • Kanji: Vishu Kanji, a delicious rice porridge cooked with coconut milk and aromatic spices is made in every home. The Kanji is served hot with a range of delectable side dishes like pickles, pappadums, and roasted banana, to relish the true essence of this festive delicacy. Bon appétit!
  • Avial: Another popular dish served during the Vishu Sadya is the Avial, a mixed vegetable curry made with a variety of vegetables like carrot, beans, drumstick, pumpkin, and raw banana, cooked in a coconut and yogurt-based sauce. The dish is seasoned with curry leaves, cumin, and coconut oil, giving it a unique taste and aroma. It can be enjoyed as a main course and is typically served alongside steaming hot rice and tangy tamarind chutney.
  • Sambar: This is another important dish served during the Vishu Sadya. It is a lentil-based soup made with a variety of vegetables, tamarind, and spices like mustard seeds, cumin, and fenugreek. The dish is usually served with rice or other staples like dosa or idli.
  • Payasam: The dessert served during the Vishu Sadya is the Payasam, a sweet pudding made with rice or vermicelli, milk, and sugar and flavored with cardamom, raisins, and cashews. Some versions of the Payasam also include ingredients like coconut or jaggery, adding to its rich and creamy taste.

Overall, the cuisine of the Vishu festival in Kerala is a celebration of the region's rich culinary heritage, with a range of vegetarian dishes that are flavorful, aromatic, and unique to the festival. The Vishu Sadya is a grand feast that brings families and communities together to celebrate the harvest season, making it a cherished part of Kerala's culture and traditions.

Also Read: Kerala Tourism: A Complete Guide for A Family Trip to Kerala

Places to visit in Kerala

There are many places to visit in Kerala that showcase the best of what the state has to offer. One of the most popular destinations is Munnar, known for its lush tea plantations and breathtaking views of the Western Ghats. Another must-visit location is the serene backwaters of Kumarakom, where you can enjoy a peaceful houseboat ride and experience the local village life. Kerala is also home to beautiful beaches, including the popular Varkala Beach, known for its dramatic cliffs and stunning sunsets.

For those interested in history and culture, Kerala has plenty to offer. The ancient port city of Kochi, for example, is home to a rich blend of Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial architecture, as well as Jewish synagogues and temples. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram is another historical landmark worth visiting for its intricate Dravidian-style architecture and religious significance.

Kerala is also known for its wildlife sanctuaries, such as the Periyar National Park, which is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including tigers, elephants, and birds.

If you are planning to visit Kerala during Vishu, book a stay at any of these Club Mahindra resorts in Kerala. Each of these premium resorts are in scenic locations in Kerala, and offer travellers a comfortable stay, taking care of their every need. 

  • Club Mahindra Arookutty, Alleppey Resort
  • Club Mahindra Cherai
  • Club Mahindra Poovar Resort
  • Club Mahindra Ashtamudi Resort
  • Club Mahindra Thekkady Resort

The Perfect Time to Visit Kerala

Vishu is an incredibly vibrant and culturally rich festival that should be on every traveller's list of must-attend events. Kerala comes alive during this time, with people dressed in traditional attire, streets decorated with flowers, and an overall festive atmosphere that is infectious.

Vishu celebration in Kerala marks new beginnings and is a time to renew relationships, seek blessings, and enjoy the company of loved ones. It is also an excellent opportunity to explore the cuisine of Kerala, with traditional dishes that are a feast for the senses.

So why not plan a trip to Kerala during Vishu and experience the state when it is the most vibrant and lively? Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in the traditions and rituals of the festival or simply soak in the sights and sounds of Kerala, Vishu is the perfect time to do so. Kerala awaits you with open arms, ready to welcome you into its warm and hospitable culture.

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About Club Mahindra

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