Vishu marks New Year in Malayalam Calender (Medam -1st). It comes in the second week of April. Vishu is celebrated all over Kerala and some districts of Karnataka.
For me Vishu is so special due to its versatility from other festivals. The celebrations begin one or two days before the New Year. People start setting firecrakers(Vishu Padakkam) at home during night. I remember how I used to compete with my cousins in firing the most number of crackers. Markets will be very populated with the craker-sellers, vegitable vendors , fruit vendors, etc. It is a very good time for them as everyone would spend some money for celebrating Vishu.
Vishu kani(first sight) is the major element in the celebration. The first sight that we have in the beginning of the year, the Kani, is believed to be lucky for the rest of the year. The Kani is made with a lot of care. Kani symbolises prosperity and richness. It includes ritual arrangements of fruits, grains, coconut, raw rice, fresh lemon, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, yellow flowers konna (Cassia fistula), and a holy text and coins, in a bell metal vessel called uruli in the puja room of the house. This is arranged in the previous night of Vishu.
The next day, i.e on the dawn of Vishu, the custom is to get up and walk to the pooja room with closed eyes and see the Kani first. My mom used to close my eyes with her hand tightly as she knew I would open the eyes before and peep at something else. I used to feel tremendously happy when she open my eyes and make me look at Lord Krishna who is so beautiful and I would feel the divine energy coming into me. I remember my Grandfather who would be standing beside me already and he used to tell me to look at each item on the Kani. Then he gives a gold coin on my hand and make me look at it. Before I see it properly, he used to take it away and keep it beside the God. Then I go and see the Kani at Temple nearby. You can see all people with full joy and merry on that day in the temple praying for a wonderful newyear.
My favourite part of Vishu is Vishukaineettam. Elders give money to children, tenants, and servants. Lot of people come to my home to collect the Kaineettam. Sometimes my dad would ask me to give the kaineettam to the people who come. I would give the money and I have seen people looking at my eyes with a such a bright smile that make me feel very happy. I go to all my relatives and collect Kaineettam. All children at home including me would then be deciding how to spend the little money we got. We buy chocolates, fruits, dress etc and have fun.
We play the whole day, eat Vishu kanji and roam around with friends. The Vishu days are among the most memorable days in my life.