by Elizabeth Menon

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Malayalis Celebrate 'Vishu' and for Bengalis, it’s ‘Nabo Barsho’!

‘Happy Vishu', and 'Shubo Nabo Barsho’!

15 April is a day of celebration for Malayalees -- it is the day to celebrate Vishu and hope for a better future -- it is also an occasion to pay homage to Lord Krishna for all the blessings! Lord Krishna takes the centre stage and all the family members get gift from the elders! The day starts with the visual treat, 'Vishukkani' and then the oldest member of the family gives the 'Vishukkaineettam', which is traditionally coins -- but the 'Vishukkaineettam' can come in different shapes and sizes, to the delights of the youngsters!

Then of course the traditional vegetarian feast, 'Sadya' served on plantain leaves, displaying the splendour and the cookery skill of the women -- I don't forget the few men who take pride in showing off their culinary expertise on occasions like Vishu and Onam! Mouth-watering dishes such as, Parippu, Kaalan, Olan, koottukary, pachaty, kichati, banana chips, various paayasams, along with rice and pappatam make their grand appearance on the plantain leaves -- and then of course, it's time to enjoy the feast!

Bengalis celebrate New Year during the month of Baisakh that is the first month of the Bengali calendar, and this year it's on 15 April, the same day as 'Vishu'! People clean their houses and they draw colourful designs in front of their houses, using rice four. A red clay pot, which is decorated with ‘Swastika’ in white colour, is kept in the middle of the design. The pot is filled with vermilion and holy water and also has a branch of mango tree that has five twigs and few leaves -- the ritual of placing this pot is a symbol of good wealth for the family. The traditional feast follows the festivities!

Wish you all, Happiness, Love, Peace and Prosperity for the coming year!

© E Menon



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