Vishu is grandly celebrated in Kerala as well as by Malayalis across the world. This festival falls on the first day of the month of Medam, as per the lunar calendar of Hindus.
Mesha Sankranthi, which is observed as Vishu, is not traditionally celebrated as New Year in the Malayalam Calendar. The New Year in the calendar begins on the first day of Chingam. People residing in the Malabar area consider this grand festival as the astrological New Year.
According to the Gregorian calendar, Vishu usually falls in the middle of April. So, as per Drikpanchang, Vishu will be celebrated on 15 April. Meanwhile, the Sankranthi moment on Vishu will be observed at 8:56 am on 14 April.
How is the day celebrated?
Vishu is celebrated with fanfare and vigour in different parts of Kerala. People begin the day by taking bath, wearing new clothes, lighting oil lamps and offering prayers at their home temples. They set up a display of fruits, vegetables, rice, few coins, holy text among others in a metal bowl called Uruli and then place it in front of the temple at their home.
A special meal or dish called Sadya is prepared during the occasion. As the day is known for feasting, food items of equal proportions including salty, bitter, sweet and sour dishes are also prepared.
On Vishu, the most important event is the Vishukkani, which means finding or looking at the most auspicious thing at dawn. People believe that by doing so they will be lucky throughout the year. Another famous ritual is the Vishukkaineetam. On this day, people give money to children, servants and even tenants. This ritual is done by elders of the family.
It is believed that on this day, Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura. Devotees observing this festival worship Lord Krishna's idols and also make offerings of fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables and new clothes to the god. Devotees believe that the day brings prosperity and is also considered as the beginning of new aspirations and growth in one's life.