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VISHU, Our New year

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by LakshmiKMBhat, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. LakshmiKMBhat

    LakshmiKMBhat Gold IL'ite

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    Yesterday, 14th April, 2013, was Vishu Kani, our new year according to the Solar Hindu Calender. Early in the morning, vegetables, fruits, gold ornaments, rice, coconut, betel leaves and nuts are kept in the puja room and prayers are offered to God. The family members go there after a bath, touch their eyes with a small gold coin. Coming out they touch the feet of all elders seeking their blessings. Not only the family members but all the members of the extended family used to come to the ancestral house. On the day of Vishu, this being an auspicious day, the cultivation of the land was started by ploughing the paddy field.
    We were talking to my father-in-law about the celebration and significance of Vishu in the earlier days.
    Agriculture has been the chief occupation of our family for generations. Vishu was an important day for the tenants and the land lords. On that day transactions of the previous year were closed and that of the new year started.
    It was customary that the tenants would come to meet the head of the family with some small gifts, which used to be something which he had made or grown in the land.
    Those who were experts in making mats gave what they had made. These mats were made from the leaves of a thorny bush, (mava could not recollect its name). The thorns from the leaves were removed and kept in the yard overnight for seasoning. By morning they would become soft and then they were woven into mats. Basket makers gave the baskets they had made. Many gave vegetables ,fruits, cashew nuts and betel leaves and nuts. The black smith gave iron spoons or ladles. The goldsmith gave a gold ring. All brought something which they had grown or made as a token of respect.
    In return, they were given about ¾ kgs of rice and a coconut by the head of the family. They were also given refreshments. In those days people used to walk long distances. This exchange of gifts went on throughout the day.
    From the early seventies, changes started taking place in the political and social fields of the state. In 1976 there were major differences of opinion between the workers and the landlords. The Tenancy Act and the Land Ceiling Act changed the whole social structure. Due to these acts, the tenants became the owners of the land they had been cultivating.
    With that the celebration of Vishu as it had been celebrated for generations also changed.
    Gradually, over the years the old way of life with all its customs and traditions gave way to a new way of life.

    View attachment 185174

    The gentleman in the centre is my father-in-law's father, next to him is his mother. She is churning buttermilk. The other photos are scenes from rural life, in our village. The coloured photos are of the pujas which were offered yesterday morning. The house is our ancestral house, one taken in the 1950s and other last year.

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