Amidst the worldwide lockdown due to Coronavirus, Kerala sees a monotonous New Year with no gathering or celebration of the eve.
Excluding this year, every year on the day of Malayalam New Year, also known as Vishu-the harvest festival, Malayalis wore new clothes, prepared ‘Sadhya’ (a lavish meal) and burst crackers to celebrate. They visited temples of lord Krishna to worship. Children and the youngsters used to get ‘Kaineetam’(a practice where children get money) from the elders of the family. On the eve of Vishu, markets were found crowded with people haggling over golden melon (Vellari) and Konna flower, the two essentials for ‘the VishuKani’ (ritualistic arrangement of the festival). Garment stores and automobile showrooms gave massive discount sales on this occasion.
But unfortunately, this year, things are different. There is no entertainment or fun. The roads are deserted and markets are filled with essential commodities like fruits and vegetables. Even Konna flower sales have become a rare sight.
Deepa Mahesh, a housewife and a resident of Vytilla, said, “There is no room to celebrate Vishu in this lockdown period. My children have been asking for ‘vishukaineetam’ since yesterday. We didn’t buy anything. For ‘Vishukani’ we got the golden melon and the Konna flower measly from our neighbor. I prepared a simple meal with whatever I had at home.”
“It’s a ritual to visit the temple on the day of Vishu but due to the lockdown, everything is shut. More than celebrating, we are concerned about safety and are trying to help the healthcare workers by staying at home,” added Deepa.
For Anitha Nair, an IT employee working from home, “Vishu at home is like spending extra time with family.”
“Normally, I have a lot of work pressure at the office. But now, it is reduced due to the lockdown as I am being assigned with minimal work from my seniors. So, I could spend more time with my family. Usually, for Vishu, we go to our ancestral house in Palakkad district and cook 25-30 dishes for Sadhya along with all the family members. This year, we are staying at home and didn’t celebrate. For us, it is a normal day,” She told the Newsnet.
Image Credits- Sreejith RK