People in Kerala and Tamil Nadu yesterday celebrated the traditional New Year with thousands visiting temples.
In Kerala, the Vishu festival, believed to herald good luck and fortune, is a public holiday.
Big crowds were seen at all major temples such as the Sabarimala temple, the Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple and the capital’s Padmanabhaswamy temple.
Most women were dressed in the traditional “kasuvu” saree and men in dhoti.
One of the main attractions of the festival is families observing “Vishukani”, a ritual where people view their favourite deity the first thing in the morning.
Preparations for Vishukani begin the night before with auspicious items like rice, grains, cucumber, pumpkin, coconut, mangoes, betel leaves and a metal vessel kept in the worship room along with a mirror.
In Tamil Nadu people heralded “Dunmuki” - the Tamil New Year - with traditional fervour.
“Puthandu Vazthukkal” (New Year greetings) is how friends and relatives greeted one another in the morning. The Tamil New Year is celebrated on the first day of Tamil month Chithirai, which normally falls on April 13 or 14 every year.
“We got up early and went to the nearby temple which was crowded because of Tamil New Year,” J Muralidharan, a resident of Mylapore in south Chennai said.
All the popular temples here - Kapaleeswarar Temple, Sri Parthasarathy Temple and others - were crowded since morning.
At home, Tamilians feasted on dishes like vada and payasam (sweet dish) and other savouries.
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