Festivals have always been special to us, it is that time when the whole family and the extended family gets together to celebrate â€“ the spirit of the family as well as the spirit of the festival.
On a typical Kerala festival like the Vishu, the day starts quite early. The lady of the house begins the day by lighting the oil lamps of the Vishukkani, which is the most important part of the festival. Vishu, in Sanskrit means Equal, Vishukkani means the first sight on the day of Vishu, Kani being sight.
At home, our grandmother wakes up and lights the lamp, offers prayers to the Lord Guruvayurappan, an incarnation of Lord MahaVishnu and then proceeds to wake each member of the family, one by one, ensuring that they do not open their eyes until they are in front of the Kani. And then you open your eyes, and what a sight that is. The bright golden light from the nilavilakku (bell lamp) falls on the auspicious articles that are arranged.
There would be the idol of the Lord, many seasonal vegetables a fruits, some gold, silver and copper, the traditional aranmula kannadi (a handmade metal-alloy mirror, made in Aranmula, a village in the state of Kerala. The combination of metals to making this mirror is a secret and is maintained as a family secret), the golden konna flowers (Cassia fistula), a holy text, a few coins and currency notes, grains of rice and other basic pulses are some of the things that go about in making this visual treat. How much ever I explain, it is a sight worth seeing, then you will realize no matter how many times you read about it, is insufficient. The golden yellow hue just attacks your eyes as soon as you open them, you are made to sit and examine each and every article that is arranged. This is said to symbolize prosperity.
After this visual treat comes the kaineettam, the elders in the house give gifts of money to the children, and children are then off to burst crackers and other fireworks. You have to imagine all this happens in the wee hours of the morning, around 4.00 am. We then take our baths and visit the kudumba kshetram, the family temple.
The next highlight of the day would be the sadya, the traditional feast of rice and around 21 side dishes served on a plantain leaf, followed by the yummy payasam, a dish cooked typically in milk with rice or broken wheat and sugar.
And that, is how we celebrate 🙂
Linking this to The Writer’s Post Thursday Blog Hop hosted by SusanÂ and to the UBC.