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Hindus celebrate New Year in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram, April 15 - Hindus were making a beeline Tuesday to temples in Kerala to mark Vishu, known as their traditional New Year.
Hindus in Kerala account for 52 percent of the 33 million population. People were seen visiting temples early morning as Vishu is believed to signal the arrival of the good luck and fortune for the coming year.
The Sabarimala, Guruvayoor and Sree Padmanabhaswamy temples here were seen crowded.
The biggest event on this day is to have the 'Vishukani darshan' (auspicious sight of the deity).
Preparations for Vishukani start the night before the New Year with 'urali' (a special vessel). Fresh farm products such as grains, vegetables and fruits are kept near the place of worship, decorated with the bright yellow flowers of konna (Cassia Fistula, also known as the Golden Shower Tree).
"Prices of readymade Vishu kits have jumped more than 100 percent as compared to the previous year, when these were available for only Rs.20. Vegetable prices have gone up and hence the price of this kit," said Sudha Menon, a housewife here.
An important feature on this occasion is to give 'vishukaineetam' (a gift), which mostly consists of coins.
The day is equally important for the most sought after Vishu meal, which is the traditional 26-course Kerala lunch, served on a plantain leaf. While in the southern districts of the state, people have a vegetarian lunch on the occasion, in northern Kerala, they include non-vegetarian dishes in the lunch.
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