Vishu

Cassia fistula(Kanikonna)
Cassia fistula (Kanikonna)

In Kerala, the start of the Zodiac New Year—when the sun enters into Sidereal Aries, Ashwini nakshatra—is celebrated as Vishu. It is said that what one sees when one first opens one’s eyes on Vishu morning is an indication of what one can expect in the year to come. Thus on Vishu, effort is made to assure one opens one’s eyes before an auspicious image—the Vishukkani.

The Vishukkani setting consists of items such as rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, coconut, jack fruit, Kajal, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror (Vaalkannadi), golden yellow Konna flowers (Cassia fistula) which bloom in the season of Vishu, holy Hindu texts, coins or currency notes, oil lamp (nilavilakku), and an image of the God Krishna.

While the festival is called “Vishu” only in Kerala, across India festivals sharing the same spirit- such as Ugadhi in Andhra Pradesh and in Karnataka, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, Bihu in Assam and Baisakhi in Punjab—are celebrated around the same time of year.

National Flower- Lotus

National Flower- Lotus
National Flower- Lotus

Lotus (Nelumbo Nucifera Gaertn) is the National Flower of India. It is a sacred flower and occupies a unique position in the art and mythology of ancient India and has been an auspicious symbol of Indian culture since time immemorial.

It is an aquatic herb that is often termed as ‘Padma’ in Sanskrit and enjoys a sacred status among the Indian culture. It has been an integral part of the Indian culture from time immemorial. A prominent feature of the Indian mythology, the lotus is one with the Indian identity and represents the core values of Indian psyche.

India is rich in flora. Currently available data place India in the tenth position in the world and fourth in Asia in plant diversity. From about 70 per cent geographical area surveyed so far, 47,000 species of plants have been described by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).