The Malayalam new year, or Vishu, is celebrated with joy and splendour every year by Malayalis in Kerala, Karnataka and other parts of the country and world. Following the solar cycle of the lunisolar Hindu calendar, Vishu is observed on the first day of the month called Medam. The festival signifies the sun’s transition into the first solar month — Medam Rashi and generally is celebrated somewhere in the middle of April in the Gregorian calendar. This year Vishu will be celebrated on April 14.
Meaning equality, Vishu celebrates spring equinox and is observed in the early hours of the day in temples such as Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple or Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple or Kulathupuzha Sree BaalaShastha Temple. Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna is also worshipped by Malayali Hindus on this day. It is a joyous time for families as friends and relatives come together to prepare colourful items for the Vishu festival. They seek to witness the golden blossoms of the laburnum tree, money, silver items and rice and revel in the festival. Children also participate in the festival and can be seen wearing new clothes and firing crackers.
It is believed by many that their new year would be better if they view auspicious things on this day. Owing to this, a Vishukkan is prepared on this day. It is basically a setting consisting of items such like rice, golden cucumber, golden lemon, jack fruit, coconut cut open, betel leaves, betel leaves, metal mirror, arecanut, golden yellow konna flowers (Cassia fistula), oil lamps, Hindu texts, currency notes and an image of the Hindu god Vishnu. Women generally spend the entire day to prepare it.
As per traditions, an elder member of the family lights up the lamps at dawn and then goes to each member of the family. They are then blindfolded and are asked to walk in front of the setting. She then releases the blindfold so that they can see it and start their day.
Kolams are made in front of the house or on the porch as well.