Vishukani or the viewing of the auspicious objects is an important ritual associated with Vishu, the festival of Kerala. It is believed that the first object that one sees in the Vishu morning determines the prosperity in store for the coming year. Hence, a set of auspicious objects will be arranged on previous day to view as first sight in the early morning of Vishu. The slightly vary from region to region with in Kerala itself as per the local values and customs.
The traditional people of Kerala practice a lot of colorful rituals and customs on Vishu. Most of these traditions are based on a belief that Vishu must be celebrated well as the good things of the first day of the New Year will continue for the rest of the year too. Half of the success is assured if your start is good. This is exactly the same principle behind the Vishu Kani for the Malayalees. The kani comprises of auspicious items such as Uruli, Kasavu Pudava, Kannikonna, Vellarikya/Kanivellari means golden color cucumber), all types of fruits, i.e. Mango fruit (Green colour and golden color), Jackfruit, Banana, Coconut, Kani Konna ( the yellow flower which usually blooms at this time), Kuthu Vilakku (five faced Oil Lamp), Valkannadi (A mirror composed in metal alloy), Vettila Pakku (bettel leaves and bettle nut), Unakkalari (a variety of rice), various types of grains, coins, gold jewelry, Holy book of Ramayana/narayaneeyam/bhagawatham and Unnikannan (Lord Krishna) It is not necessary to keep all these items. One can keep whichever is available but the only basic element is that the items which are kept should be golden or yellow in color. The Kani is set by the mother of the family, in the puja room, the night before.
At the stroke of dawn, the lady who prepared the kani wakes up each member of the house one by one with their eyes closed and guides them to the puja room so that when they open their eyes, the first sight will be the kani. After seeing the kani, then follows bath rituals and father will give pudhu kodi and each person will take blessings from the god and reads few sloKas from the holy book Ramayana/Bhagawatham. Some believe that the first page that you open from the Ramayana/Bhagawatham will have an impact on your life for the coming year. The elderly and sick people, who may not be able to walk to the puja room, will also be able to see the kani when it is being taken around the house. The Vishukani is also taken outside the house to show it to the birds, trees and cows. There is also a tradition to give small amounts of cash to children of the family. This tradition is called Vishu Kaineetam. People believe that this custom will ensure prosperity for their children in future. The festival creates oneness among family, respecting all beings in the family, all animals; birds are offered food as a part of the celebrations to ensure that we are not separate from them. Vishu is one of the most important occasions for a Malayalis, for a good year ahead, each one of them, long for the grace of the Lord, as Grace is the most important aspect of success.
SIGNIFICANCE OF YELLOW COLOUR IN VISHUKANI:-
I have heard that the “Kani” should signify auspiciousness through the yellow colour.Yellow is the colour of knowledge and learning. It symbolizes happiness, peace, meditation, competence and mental development.It is the colours of spring and activate the mind.Lord Vishnu dress is yellow symbolizing his representations of knowledge.Yellow colour has spiritual importance in religions like Hinduism. The people belonging to Hinduism believe that this an auspicious one and never forget to use this color whenever they start new consignments. To get this color they use the mixture of turmeric powder and little bit water. Particularly the business people in various parts of India will apply this color on the front page of their new account notebook to get more profits in that year. During the occasions like marriage the priests will mix the turmeric powder with a little quantity of water and rice to make Akshata. It is told in Hinduism that turmeric powder and water can be used to create instant Lord Ganesh to worship Him. The Hindu people will wear yellow colored dresses while they are performing religious activities. It is also a traditional habit that every bride of Hindu marriage should have worn yellow saree. The yellow color is also associated with the God of Jupiter. In Hinduism God of Jupiter is called as Guru Bhagavan Brihaspathi.Golden yellow has many other associations.In Hinduism, yellow is the symbolic representation of the third Chakra, the Manipuraka Chakra.Golden yellow represents the warmth of the sun, a colour that provides a bright and cheerful feeling as well as a somber, traditional, and religious aura. Yellow denotes ‘precious’ as the metal Gold or ‘ripe’ as the colour of the harvesting season, be it golden wheat, corn or paddy. Perhaps this is the reason why Golden yellow colour is given more importance in Hinduism.