Vishu festival sets in on traditional note in UAE
Malayalee community all set to herald new year
What is Vishukkani?
The most important event during Vishu is the Vishukkani. The Vishukkani consists of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles intended to signify prosperity, including gold, rice, fruits and vegetables, betel leaves, metal mirror, yellow flowers called konna (Cassia fistula), holy texts and coins, all arranged around dieties in an ambience lit by the nilavilakku. This is arranged by the elders of the family the night before and is the first sight seen by the younger generation on Vishu morning.
The Malayalee expatriate community in the UAE is all set to welcome the harvest festival Vishu, which also marks the beginning of a new year, Vishu - which is also celebrated as Bisu in Tulunadu regions such as Karnataka's Mangalore and Udupi districts - involves the bursting of fire crackers (vishupadakkam), purchase of new clothes (puthukodi), and gifting money to children by the elders of the family (Vishukkaineetam), as well as the all important feast, (sadhya). The event falls in the month of Medam in the Malayalam calendar.
The Vishukkani (the first sight in the morning of the first day of the new year), however, is the most important feature and most Malayalee families here prepare it for their children.
For many Malayalees, Vishu celebrations, this year, will be confined to the office since it falls on a working day. However, there is absolutely no compromise on the sadhya!
Prasanth Bose, a Dubai-based internal auditor, said: "If Vishu falls on a week day, we usually celebrate it at the office by ordering sadhya from some good restaurants and giving treats to our non-malayalee colleagues."
Bose makes it a point to meet up with relatives and have a traditional Vishu get-together during the weekend. "On the weekend after Vishu, all of our relatives gather together and have sadhya, play cards and sing songs. "
Unfortunately, this Vishu would be less exciting since my wife who is a doctor would be working on Vishu day and the weekend after it. Nevertheless, we will not miss our delicious Vishu sadhya!"
His wife, Dr Vidyalakshmi Prakash, tries to stick to tradition as much as possible. "I usually make it a point to prepare a Vishukkani. We also call our relatives back home in India to wish them ... I also make it a point to send vishu kaineetam to my brother and sister back home."
For newly-wed Praveen Ku-mar, Vishu is extra special this time as it will be his first as a married man. Kumar got married just over a week ago, and somehow he managed to bring his wife Deepthi just in time for Vishu.
"My wife reached Dubai yes-terday and so Vishu will be ex-tra sweet for me. We have rented out a flat in Al Nahda, Dubai, and we will be moving in on Vishu day. We have prepared a Vishu Kani so that we have an auspicious beginning.
"All my cousins and relatives will join us for sadhya," said Ku-mar, who works at the Zayed Military Hospital in Abu Dhabi.
Where do you get a good sadhya?
Many restaurants are serving the sadhya with over 25 traditional dishes on the banana leaf, including sambhar, beetroot pachadi, parippu curry, kaalan, aviyal, olan, inji curry, moru curry, banana chips, beans fry, and papaya and cabbage thoran.
Additionally, Lulu, one of the biggest retail chains in Dubai is offering discounts on garments and food as part of its "Vishu Campaign". Choithrams also has a number of Vishu deals on offer. Among the restaurants offering Vishu sadhya are Calicut Notebook, Calicut Paragon, Kolam, Kerala Kitchen, Paddipura in Sharjah
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