Shrugging off the gloom of the COVID-19 years, Keralites celebrated Vishu with traditional zeal.
The spring harvest festival seemed to have rendered the despondent pandemic years a distant memory. Family togetherness marked the holiday that signalled the advent of the spring harvest season.
The festival's high point is viewing the "Vishu Kani" at dawn. It is a visual symbol of plentifulness manifested as a small cauldron of bell metal brimming over with the golden-hued "Kani Konna" (Indian laburnum), fruits, paddy stalks, vegetables, gold ornaments, silver artefacts, silk, a mirror and an image of the Hindu god, Krishna. A lighted oil lamp adds sheen to the cornucopia of abundance.
Fraternising with friends and neighbours, bursting firecrackers and feasting on sweetmeats characterised the initial hours of Vishu.
It was an occasion for families and friends, alienated by the COVID-19 years, to mingle. Elders pursued the customary practice of gifting money to young children.
Hundreds throng Sabarimala and Guruvayur temples. At Sabarimala, the chief priest distributed coins to a limited set of devotees who arrived early. The Vishu Darshan at Guruvayur commenced at 2.30 a.m.
Good Friday observed
Vishu celebrations dovetailed with the sombre Good Friday observation. Hundreds of observant Christians re-enacted the "Way of Suffering" to commemorate Jesus Christ's punishing path to crucifixion. Bishops and priests led the laity in the open-air rite. Hundreds bearing wooden crosses trekked up the Malayatoor hill to remember Christ's martyrdom.