Low-key festive celebrations for Chennaiites this year

People who are celebrating Tamil New Year and Vishu today say it’s important to observe the festival to keep spirits up.
Low-key festive celebrations for Chennaiites this year

Chennai

For Tamils, April 14 mark the auspicious day of Tamil New Year. Popularly known as Tamil Puthandu, the Tamil New Year is celebrated in Hindu homes in a bigger way. But this year, the celebrations seem to be low-key across the city. With temples closed, city-based homemaker Ramani has decided to do a pooja at home with the family. “We used to decorate the house and make some delicacies. Usually, relatives visit home during this period.
However, because of the lockdown, we cannot invite our relatives over this year. It will be a minimal celebration within the family,” Ramani shares. Today, the Malayali community across the globe celebrate Vishu, a harvest festival that signifies prosperity. The festival is marked by family time with elders in the family gifting money to children and grandchildren and preparing a lavish sadya.
But with lockdown and other restrictions keeping people indoors, the festival celebrations have become a low-key affair in many households.
Malayalis from the city share with us how they are planning to celebrate Vishu this year. For visual artist Parvathi Nayar, Vishu celebration is all about keeping the spirit surrounding the festival alive.
“We are going through a crisis and I am sure we will come out of it soon. Every year, we celebrate Vishu in a grand way. But this year, we have decided to make it a low-key affair. There won’t be any big celebrations as such. We need to celebrate the cycle of the season and what Mother Earth gave us. I live in an apartment where my mother lives on the third floor. We will be keeping a Vishu Kani (where an idol of Lord Krishna, fruits & vegetables are kept as a display) at home. We are also planning to make a small sadya with whatever vegetables available. My daughter is excited about Vishu and I will be sharing my childhood Vishu memories with her,” says Parvathi.
Despite the lockdown, one needs to look forward to better days ahead. That’s what jewellery designer Minnie Menon strongly believes in. “I have grown up seeing Vishu Kani every year and this year is no different. Vishu Kani is regarded as the symbol of good luck and prosperity by all Hindu Malayalis. My husband will wake me up and walks me to the front of the Vishu Kani setting. I cannot even explain the joy I get from viewing the Vishu Kani! I am not good at making Kerala-style traditional lunch; so, every year, we order special sadya from outside. Because of the restrictions, we won’t be ordering food this time. Instead, we will be having a normal lunch at home,” Minnie tells us.

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