The Zodiac New Year of Kerala

Vishu is celebrated mainly in Kerala, in coastal Kanyakumari and nearby regions and their diaspora communities. The festival follows the solar cycle of the lunisolar as the first day of the month called Medam. It therefore always falls in the middle of April in the Gregorian calendar on or about 14 April every year. In Kerala, the start of the Zodiac New Year — when the sun enters into Sidereal Aries, Ashwini Nakshatra — is celebrated as Vishu.

While the festival is called “Vishu” only in Kerala, across India festivals sharing the same spirit — such as Ugadhi in Andhra Pradesh and in Karnataka, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, Bihu in Assam and Baisakhi in Punjab — are celebrated around the same time of year.


It is said that what one sees when one first opens one’s eyes on Vishu morning is an indication of what one can expect in the year to come. Thus on Vishu, effort is made to assure one opens one’s eyes before an auspicious image — the Vishukkani.

That which is seen first

The Malayalam word kani literally means “that which is seen first”, so “Vishukkani” means “that which is seen first on Vishu”. Arranged in the family puja room by the mother, the Vishukkani is a panorama of auspicious items like, image of Lord Vishnu, flowers, fruits and vegetables, clothes and gold coins.

Be part of the this auspicious occasion; Pray to the Lord almighty and receive the abundance of his blessings.

Lord Vishnu: the preserver of creation

Lord Vishnu, the preserver of creation, is the aspect of the Paramatman that is focused upon during Vishu. In jyotish, Indian astrology, Vishnu is seen as the head of Kaala Purusha, the God of Time.

As Vishu marks the first day of the Zodiac New Year, it is an appropriate time to make offerings to Lord Vishnu.

Akshatam: a mixture of rice and turmeric

Akshatam, a mixture of rice and turmeric, which is divided into halves of husked and un-husked rice, is placed in a special bowl called an uruli. The uruli traditionally is made of panchaloham, an aggregate of five metals.

Panchaloham being symbolic of the universe, which is comprised of the five great elements—earth, water, fire, air and space.