Like most parts of India, festivals in Kerala are an
integral part of the social and cultural structure of the
state and festival time is the best time to plan one's
travel to Kerala. In Kerala, every community, every religion
has something to celebrate about all through out the year.
Vishu is one of the most popular festivals of Kerala. Vishu
falls on the first of Medam (March-April), which is the
Malayalam New Year's Day. Since it is considered propitious
to view good things on this day for year round good fortune,
Vishu morning is an important time. The heart of this
festival of Kerala is the preparation of the kani (the lucky
sight or gift).
The custom of preparing the kani has been followed for
generations. The women take a large dish made of bell-metal
(uruli), arrange in it a grantha (palm-leaf manuscript), a
gold ornament, a new cloth, some flowers from the Konna Tree
(Cassia fistula), some coins in a silver cup, a split
coconut, a cucumber, some mangoes and a jack-fruit. On
either side of the dish are placed two burning lamps with a
chair facing it. Family members are taken blindfolded and
then their blindfolds are removed and they view the Vishu
Kani. As in other Indian festivals, a great feast at home is
the high point of celebrating Vishu in Kerala.