is the astrological new year of Kerala, where the sun transits into Aries (Mesha Sankramana) when sun is exactly on the equator and the duration of day and night will be almost same.This describes the origin of the word "Vishu" which in Sanskrit means "equal". Also, on the day of vishu, Malayalis start the farm activities for the year. TheTrikodithanam Shasanam by Bhaskara Ravivarman who ruled Kerala between AD 962 and 1021 mentions Chithira Vishu. It is believed that Lord Sree Krishna killed the demon Narakasura on the Vishu day.
The golden yellow flowers of Kanikkonna (Cassia fistula) or Indian Labrunum is the state flower of Kerala due to it's significance in vishu festival. This enchanting yellow blooms signals the arrival of Vishu , became the symbol of vishu festival.
'ഏതു ധൂസരസങ്കല്പ്പത്തില് വളര്ന്നാലും,ഏതു യന്ത്രവത്കൃത ലോകത്തില് പുലര്ന്നാലും,മനസ്സിലുണ്ടാകട്ടെ ഗ്രാമത്തിന് വെളിച്ചവുംമണവും മമതയും ഇത്തിരി കൊന്നപ്പൂവും'
- വൈലോപ്പിള്ളി (കയ്പവല്ലരി)
'Kani' means that which is seen first at the start of the day. The night before Vishu, konna flowers (Cassia fistula) nellu/unnakallari(rice/paddy), kodi vastram (new clothes), golden cucumber, betel leaves, coins, gold ornaments and a holy text preferably 'Ramayanam' in a 'uruli' (shallow panchloham vessel) etc are arranged infront of Lord Krishna's idol with a mirror behind. This is the Kani for the Vishu - Vishukkani -auspicious beginning of the new year as it is believed that a good kani will bring luck and prosperity through out the year. Since, only the 'one' female member of the family knows what is in the Kani, it adds a tint of mystery to the viewers in the morning. Families wake up early in the morning to view the kani and then burst crackers in joy. After wearing new clothes (Vishu kodi) they together eat the festive lunch (Vishu sadya) the traditional Kerala meal on bananaleaves.