Vishu, the Planting Season of Kerala
We have said that Vishu or the Sunís entry into the zero degree of sidereal Aries, is the time for the farmers to sow.
Vishu or the solar ingress into Aries, is celebrated all over Kerala. This is the dawn of a good era, as it marks the end of the hot seasons of Kumbha ( Aquarius ) and Meena ( Pisces ). Temperature touching 43 degrees is disconcerting. Vishu is the heralder of the two monsoons, the Kala Varsha and the Thula Varsha.
The Vedic Calender is astro-meteorological and the farmers know when to sow and when to reap. So the best time to sow is in Medam or Mesha or Aries. Anything planted after this date will fructify, as the Edava Pathi or the South West Moon takes over in June and the Thula Varsham or the North East Monsoon takes over in Oct-Nov.
In traditional farming, plants and trees need watering on alternative days. Now both monsoons ensure that plants and trees will be watered by Nature !. Hence the green landscape engineering done by Nature makes Kerala beauteous !
When the Sun reaches its maximum declination at 23 degrees 27 mins North, at the Tropic of Cancer, ( the end of Uttarayana, the Northern Solstice), the North Indian regions become hot and the Indian Ocean becomes cool. Cool winds flow from the Indian Ocean, and then travel north to the Himalayas, condense to form clouds and finally precipitate over peninsular India ! This is called Kala Varsha. This ends in September and is replaced by the Thula Varsha and this rainy season or watering by Nature continues till Dhanus, the 15th of December ! Hence the tourists find Kerala enchanting, because of the green landscape architecture effectuated by Mother Nature !
Kerala gets Kala and Thula Varshas, along with Venal Mazha or Summer Rains !
India is an agrarian economy, dependent heavily on the monsoons. In 1895, the rains never came and India experienced drought and famine. The monsoons can also be destructive. Trees are uprooted, cables smashed, houses destroyed as a result of poor infrastructure. In 2008, our paddy fields were flooded due to heavy rains and the nearby inhabitants had to be evacuated. Despite its potential for destruction, monsoons are generally welcomed, as it liberate the natives from the blistering heat of Kumbha (Aquarius ) and Meena ( Pisces ).
Q - The word Vishu is
derived from where ?
A - From the Celestial Equator, which is called Vishu Vat Vritta in Sanskrit.
The Ecliptic, Kranti Vritta, is slanted 23.5 degrees from the Celestial Equator and these two Celestial Circles intersect on only two days, the Vishu and Thula Vishu Days, as shown in the Diagram. This year Vishu was on Apr 14 and Thula Vishu will be on Oct 17 !
Vishu marks the beginning of Vasanta Rithu, the first of the six seasons.
Farmers in Kerala say that
the seeds sown on Aswathi Jnattuvela ( the Sunís transit of the first 13 degrees of Aries )
and mango seeds sown on Bharani Jnattuvela ( the Sunsís transit of the constellation of Bharani )
The best time for planting cocounut trees is on Patham Udayam, the Tenth Rising of the Sun, when Sun enters the tenth degree of Aries.
So Vishu is an agricultural festival, based on the Wisdom of the Heavens and not a religious festival !
Medaponnaniyum Konna pookkaniyay
Peelii kavukalil thala pookulay
The Pookkani made up of Golden Shower flowers
Festooned in Mesha gold !
And festivals in temples
Characterise this grand festival Vishu !
It is a practice of Keralites
To get up at Brahma Muhurta ( 0430 AM )
Mothers take children blindfolded
So that their first sight is the Lord !