Vishu is a Hindu festival that marks the beginning of the harvest year. This holiday falls on Medam in the Malayalam calendar, which is around the middle of April on the Gregorian calendar. It signifies new beginnings and new hope and is usually celebrated with an abundance of family time, the preparation of colorful auspicious items, and viewing the image of Lord Vishnu as the first thing on this day.

These auspicious items can be anything, and they usually vary from one place to another where the festival is celebrated. In one area, it might be items made of silver or money. In another, it might be blossoms of Indian laburnum, rice, or other agricultural products. Although this holiday is primarily celebrated in the Indian state of Kerala, it is not the only place where it is observed. It is also celebrated in Karnataka, in the Tulu Nadu region, and in areas surrounding Tamil Nadu, as well as by diaspora communities from these states.

Interesting Facts About Vishu

Now that we know Vishu is an astronomical new year celebration for Hindus in Kerala and other Indian states and diaspora communities, let’s look at some other things that our readers might not know. Below are some facts that we’ve come across while writing about this holiday, and we feel these facts will help to illuminate the holiday a bit more.

Lord Vishnu Is the First Thing Viewed In The Morning

It is traditional for Hindus observing this holiday to view an image of Lord Vishnu first thing in the morning. They believe that a person’s future is the sum essence of all their experiences, so by making Lord Vishnu the first thing viewed, they can start their day with a positive experience.

Of course, this initial viewing of Lord Vishnu is not the only one that Hindus will have throughout the day. Hindus make their way to various Vishnu temples on this day to receive blessings from the deity, so it is safe to say that they will see many images of Lord Vishnu on this day.

A Lot Of Work Is Required On This Day

A lot of preparation goes into the celebration of this day. Women spend the entire day before the festival preparing food items and decorating their homes. Food items that include coconut, rice, jackfruit, cucumbers, and Konna flowers are prepared.

In some households, this is followed by a tradition in which the oldest family member lights a lamp at dawn and then blindfolds other family members. This person then leads the blindfolded family members to the Vishu setting.

Additional Elements Of A Vishu Celebration

There are a few elements that are present in almost all Vishu celebrations. One element is Vishu Kanji—a rice and coconut porridge made with rice, coconut milk, and various spices. This is the main dish of the celebration.

The main dish of Vishu Kanji is accompanied by Thoran—a vegetable dish that can be made from a variety of vegetables including yardlong beans, cabbage, bitter gourd, green or red cheera, or elephant foot yam. In addition to this feast, people also celebrate the holiday with a fireworks display known as Vishu Padakkam.

Traditional Vishu Shopping Has Been Moving Online Recently

It is a tradition for people to shop for traditional clothes for the Vishu festival. These were originally sold at markets and then moved to brick-and-mortar stores. However, modern celebrations have recently moved online as people shop for clothing, home décor, and food items for the festival.

Vishu Customs & Traditions

The day of Vishu begins with devotees offering their morning prayers. Visukkani is then prepared by the mother of the family using yellow cucumbers, rice, betel leaves, gold ornaments, coins in a silver cup, a metal mirror, and other items. The Ramayana, the holy text, is then recited during puja.

After that, the feast of Sadya is prepared. A typical Sadya meal contains a variety of dishes served on a banana leaf. Some of the items that may be served include Kerala red rice, a lentil dish called Parippu, a vegetable chowder or gravy called Sambar, a soup called Rasam, Avial, Kaalan, Injipuli, Sambharam, banana, coconut, Pachadi, Thoran, and Sharkara Upperi.

Many devotees also visit temples on this day to pray, give money to the poor, and give gifts to friends and family members. Children often shoot off fireworks on this day. Most people dress in their finest clothes for Vishu. Women often adorn themselves with their best jewelry and golden ornaments. Many men wear their khadi shirts with their best mundu around their waist.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 14 Sunday
Next year (2025)
April 14 Monday
Last year (2023)
April 15 Saturday