Monday, April 21, 2014

Vishu - New Year

Vishu is a festival celebrated in the Indian state Kerala. It is considered the first day of Zodiac calendar. Vishu and Onam are the two festivals I love since childhood. Growing up I remember celebrating both these festivals every year. I want our daughter to also experience the festivities. So we prepared a grand vishukani the day before and also prepared Sadya.

Vishukani is an arrangement of auspicious items intended to signify prosperity. This includes grains and other harvest items like fruits and vegetables, mirror, kanikonna also known as golden shower(Cassia fistula), coins, gold, lamp etc arranged in front of Lord Krishna. This is the first sight you should see in the morning of vishu. We went to a Chinese market past weekend and got jackfruit which is a main fruit used for kani. Since we do not get Kanikonna here, we bought some yellow aster flowers instead. I could not find a smaller mirror the night before, but since mirror is an important part of kani, I used my daughter's toy mirror which cannot be seen in the picture below.

Another interesting part of the festival is vishukaineetam. It is a tradition of elders giving money to younger ones. We gave vishukaineetam to our daughter. We had to give her shiny coins, as she was not interested in the bills/notes.

Sadya (means banquet) involves serving a variety of vegetarian dishes on a banana leaf. We didn't get any banana leaf. But I cooked parippu, pulissery, sambar, rasam, thoran, olan, kichadi, avial, manga acha and ada pradaman. 

We had few of our friends over for dinner and we all had a fun time together. Daughter as always enjoyed the company and was running around all excited.

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