Keralites celebrate Vishu under COVID-19 shadow

Thiruvananthapuram: Despite restrictions in place due to COVID-19 pandemic, Keralites celebrated "Vishu", the harvest festival which also marks Malayalam new year, with fervour and gaiety on Wednesday.

Cutting across age, people rose early to see the auspicious "Vishu kani", symbolising hope, promise and fine prospects they wish to have in the year ahead.

Majority of Hindu households prepared the 'kani' arranging various auspicious articles like seasonal fruits, vegetables, flower, gold and clothes on platters.

As per the tradition, the articles together form the first sight when family members wake up on the Vishu day.

Elders gifted coins to children as part of the custom known as 'vishu kaineettam'.

However, various restrictions imposed by the government in view of concerns over the second wave of the COVID-19 affected the usual festive mood and celebrations outside.

The usual crowd was comparatively less in famous tourist centres.

People were allowed to have darshan in all major temples in the state, adhering to restrictions and COVID-19 protocols.

A large number of people thronged temples across the state to have the glimpse of "vishukani' arranged there since wee hours.

Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple was opened for pilgrims by 5.30 am for 'vishu kani' darshan.

As part of the COVID-19 restrictions, the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple permitted devotees outside the 'nalambalam' for the 'kani' darshan from 2:30am.

Vishu kani
Seeing the Vishu kani is believed to herald a prosperous year for the beholder.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan were among those who greeted people on the occasion of Vishu.

In view of the rising COVID-19 cases in the state, the Kerala government recently issued directions for the public and restricted the number of persons for indoor gatherings to 100 and 200 for outdoors.

It also ordered that all the shops be closed by 9pm every day and promote door delivery.

Kerala recorded 7,515 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the total caseload to 11.80 lakh and active cases mounted to 52,132, the state government had said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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