On Saturday, April 17 at Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan in Onehunga
More than 600 members and guests of the Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam are expected to gather on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan located at 12 Princes Street in Onehunga to mark Vishu, one of the most important festivals in the Kerala calendar.
They will witness a religious ceremony, watch cultural performances, exchanges greetings and goodwill and enjoy a sumptuous ‘Vishu Sadhya,’ prepared by members and volunteers of the Samajam. The event will commence at 11 am and conclude by 3 pm.
Festival of fervour
Samajam President Gopal Ayyar said that Vishu marks the beginning of the Malayalam New Year and is celebrated with great fervour by all Malayalees (or Malayalis).
“Vishu denotes the dawn of new hopes and aspirations with people taking care in fulfilling the rituals and bring prosperity and success for the coming year,” he said.
Secretary Shobhana Surendranath Nair that the Samajam takes pride in celebrating festivals of Kerala in their true traditional and community values.
Papakura Lord Ganesha Temple Chief Priest Parameswaran Chandru performing Pooja at the Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam Vishu celebrations 2019.
“We commence our yearly activities with ‘Vishu Kani,’ meaning that which is seen first. Vishu is a traditional belief that the New Year will be better if one views auspicious joyful things as the first thing on that day. Vishu Kaineettam is the hansel given by elders to children, Vishu Sadhya is the traditional feast served on plantain leaf,” she said.
Vishu in Three States
Although typically a Hindu observance, people of other faiths also join in the festivities to celebrate Vishu. While it is predominantly popular in Kerala, Vishu is also celebrated in the Tulu Nadu region of Karnataka and Mahe District of Pondicherry. Tamilians with a strong influence of Malayalam (such as those from Palghat) mark Vishu in their homes.
The forthcoming celebration of the Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam will be strong example of this Malayalam-Kerala-Kannada combo.
Vishu also marks the first day of Medam, the ninth month in the Solar Calendar followed in Kerala. It therefore always occurs in the middle of April (14th or 15th) in the Gregorian Calendar on 14th or 15th April every year.
The Diaspora celebrates the festival over a previous or succeeding weekend to enable the connected communities to comply with the religious requirement and experience the cuisine.
Solemn and Happy Day
Vishu is noted for its solemnity, characterised by family time, preparing colourful auspicious items and viewing these as Vishukkani. Malayalees seek to view the golden blossoms of the Indian laburnum (Kani Konna), money or silver items, cloth (pattu), mirror, rice and other harvest products. The day also attracts firework play by children, wearing new clothes (Puthu Kodi) and Sadhya, comprising a mix of salty, sweet, sour and bitter items.
The Vishu also is celebrated by giving money to children (Vishukai Neetam), observed as a blessing to the growing generation.
The Vishu arrangement includes an image of Vishnu (usually Lord Krishna).
Visits to Temples in Sabarimala, Guruvayur or Kulathupuzha in Kerala are common.
A group of women presenting a traditional Kerala item at Vishu 2019
Name and Meaning
Vishu derives its name from ‘Visuvam,’ meaning equal, and connoting the celebration of spring equinox in the past, although the equinox occurs 24 days earlier. It marks the first day of the Astronomical Year and hence Lord Vishnu and His incarnation Lord Krishna are worshipped, as Lord Vishnu is considered as the God of Time.
It was on this day that Lord Krishna killed demon Narakasura and hence his idol or image is kept as a part of Vishu Kani.
Vishu Sadhya forms an important part of the celebration.
Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam promises a true and traditional feast on April 17, 2021.
Pictures supplied by Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam. The above story has been sponsored by