Interesting innovations to the traditional Vishukkanni gets a mixed response
Times may change. But tradition persists despite modernity.
Malayalis believe that the first sight you behold on the astrological New Year Vishu, determines your luck throughout the year. So, much care is taken in the arrangement of the vishukkani, in order to invoke the blessings of the Lord Almighty. An uruli is laden with rice, (unakkalari), and vellarikka (cucumber), jasmine and kanikonna flowers. A kasavu neriyathu is plumed like a fan in an ottukindi, while a valkannadi nestles by its side. In some areas, the kasavuneriyathu, which represents the attire or udayada of the goddess, is bejewelled. While in some others, the vellarikka is decorated instead with jewels to form the eyes, nose and mouth to resemble the Devi's face. So, earrings become the eyes and ears, the nose ring become the nose and the golden screws of earrings transform into the mouth.
Shalini Menon, a media professional, says, “Last year we decorated the vellarikka with trendy jewellery, eye make up and glossy lipstick! Poor grandma was horrified to see a glitzy face peeking out of the uruli, when she lit the lamps in the wee hours of the morning. But she took it in good spirit .”
States Priya Sangeeth from Minneapolis, U.S.A, “We celebrate vishu with vishukani, sadya . But our vishu sadya is a potluck one, on the weekend following vishu due to our busy schedules. We make do with available items, so it's a regular mirror instead of a valkannadi or a brass plate instead of an uruli. Plantain leaves are either frozen or paper ones. For vellarikka its squash and any yellow flower for kanikkonna. !''
So that's Vishu, the festival of oneness and in anticipation of a happy year.