Tomorrow is Vishu, the Malayali New Year.

Vishu marks the first day of the Medam month as per the Malayalam calendar, and is considered as the second most important festival for the community, after Onam.

As per mythology, Vishu is believed to be the day when Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura and warded off evil. Another folklore says that Ravana, the demon king, never permitted Surya Deva (the Sun God) to rise from the East, so after Ravana's death, Surya Deva returned and hence, the day is celebrated as Vishu.

These are four ways you can celebrate Vishu with your loved ones:

1) Start the day by seeing the Vishu Kani

For the uninitiated, Vishu Kani is an arrangement done the day befor Vishu. Elders prepare a lamp, some fruits, mirror, a white 'lungi' (known as mundu), rice, gold coins, some jewellery, and some flowers, and arrange all these in front of a Krishna idol or photo. These items are kept the night before Vishu, and on the day of the festival, the eldest person in the family wakes up before sunrise, light the lamp and wake up the rest of the members in the house.

The person will then blindfold his/her family members and lead them to the Kani, so that the first thing they will be setting eyes upon when the blindfold is undone. This signifies wealth and good health.

2) Prepare the Sadhya together

Another crucial element of Vishu is Vishu sadhya, the traditional vegetarian feast to observe the festival. The meal basically consists a variety of traditional Kerala dishes served on a banana leaf. A traditional Sadhya can have up to 24 different dishes. The Sadhya is commonly consumed with hand. It will be fun to prepare the Sadhya together with your family.

3) Watch Malayalam movies

Whether it's movies of Mohanlal or Mammooty, or the younger Tovino Thomas or Dulquer Salman, catching up with blockbuster hits of these Malayalam Superstars is the best way to bring out the Malayali in you, especially for those who reside outside Kerala.

4) Vishu Kaineetam

This is perhaps the most important, and beloved tradition of Vishu. It involves the elders of the family giving out money to the younger members after blessing them following the Vishu Kani tradition. The belief of this tradition is when you share wealth with people you love, it will grow in abundance.

These are just some suggestions for you to spend the auspicious day with your family. At the end of the day, it is all about being present for those who matter to you.

Yesterday, Astro Ulagam highlighted the origins and significance of Vishu, and stay tuned for more, tomorrow.

Astro Ulagam wishes all Malayalis "Vishu Ashamsakal"!

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