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Vishu the harvest festival


Vishu, the harvest festival, the beginning of a brand new year. Konna, the beautiful yellow flowers that adorn every garden and every house. Kani – a platter  arranged with utmost care the previous night so it would be the first thing you see in the morning. Waking up to start the new year with gods and gold and glory. Paddakam – the exciting thrilling, and often dangerous firecrackers.  I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could be cool like my older cousins and light up a firecracker in my hand and toss it gently, heedless of the dangers if it were to burst while still in my hands. Malapadakkam – my personal favourite, a collection of many firecrackers strung together, but probably more dangerous. Vishusadya – the one meal of the year where my band of fourteen cousins would get together, and eat a feast befitting any royal family. Pudava – brand new clothes, usually made in white and gold, to celebrate and usher in the new beginnings. Best of all, the kaineettam – the pocket money every kid gets in the morning, to spend as he or she wants, no questions asked.

It’s been fourteen years since I celebrated Vishu. The memories are as fresh as if they happened yesterday. Something tells me this is the last year of my “Vanavas”, the fourteen years Rama spent in the forests, while he was banished from the land. I look forward to celebrating the next. Till then, I hope you had a nice Vishu and I wish you a great year ahead.

Photo courtsey: Challiyan via Flickr

Posted in Catch-all on April 14, 2009

4 Responses

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  1. Jennifer says

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Happy Vishu to you and your family!

  2. Sanal says

    Dear Surya Ramkumar,

    Its really surprised me when i came to see your blogs. I never seen you directly but once upon a time you were a big motivation to me. I hope when i was studying in 5th standard my mom used to tell me like” Dear son your photo should come in newspaper like this”. And i was dreamed abt it for 5 year, at the end of the day i realised i cant. Any way i am sanal residing abu dhabi working as a Security certificate admin in UAE Exchange. Nice to meet you

  3. Pradeep says

    This is the only time in India where crackers are burst. In most other places, like in the North, crackers go off during Diwali.

  4. KM THAMPAN says

    Vishu is the festival of harvest of Dravidians in India, and there is no relation with rama and vanvas. The Aryans were making these stories related to Rama and ramayana. The question is that why should the arians making this type of fake tales ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    According to WIKI, you can see that the VISHU is celebrated in Dravida majority area in India
    Vishu (Malayalam:????)(Tulu:????) is a new year festival celebrated in the state of Kerala, India. It is similar to the New Year festivals observed elsewhere in India like Baisakhi (Punjab), Bihu (Assam), Naba Barsha (Bengal), Bisu (Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka), (Vishuva Sankranti) in Orissa Puthandu (Tamil Nadu) and Ugadi in(Andhra Pradesh) . Vishu generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian calendar. This occasion signifies the Sun’s transit to the zodiac – Mesha Raasi (first zodiac sign) as per Indian astrological calculations and astronomically represents the vernal equinox. “Vishu” in Sanskrit means “equal”. Therefore Vishu is more probably denoting one of the equinox days. Although Vishu (first of Medam) is the astrological new year day of Kerala, the official Malayalam new year falls on the first month of Chingam (August – September). However, 1st of Chingam has no significance either astrologically or astronomically. Chingam is the harvest season in Kerala and southern parts of coastal Karnataka.

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