The people of Kerala on Thursday celebrated their summer festival Vishu with traditional fervour and gaiety looking ahead to a year of plenty and prosperity.

People woke up in the wee hours to see the auspicious ’Vishukkani’ symbolising hope, promise and fine prospects they wish to have in the seasons ahead.

The ritual consists of arranging on platters auspicious articles like seasonal fruits, vegetables, flower, gold and clothes which together form the first sight of the people when they woke up on the Vishu day.

In the past, Vishu marked the beginning of the agricultural season and in rural areas farmers used to usher in the day by furrowing the earth as a ceremonial start to farming operations.

Devotees thronged major temples across the State including Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple and the hillshrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala for ‘Vishukkani’ darshan.

Gifting of cash by elders to their younger ones in the family and a sumptuous feast were also part of the festivities.

Children greeted Vishu by bursting crackers since Wednesday.

Reports from across the State said seasonal concerns like sizzling heat or soaring prices did not mar the festival mood.

State-run agencies like Supplyco and Triveni have organised a string of festival fares where essential goods and vegetables were sold at subsidised rates, bringing great relief to large sections of people.

Kerala Governor R. S. Gavai, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and leaders of all political parties greeted people on the occasion.