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Traders fly in vegetables, flowers for Vishu festival.

Dubai Tonnes of vegetables, banana leaves and yellow konna flowers (Cussia fistula) have been flown in to the UAE as Hindus celebrate Vishu today.

In the UAE, which has a huge Keralite and Tamil community, Vishu kicks off large-scale sale of vegetables and banana leaves as families prepare a grand sadhya (feast) for lunch.

The Vishu sadhya is regarded as a vegetarian's delight as it usually comprises at least 20 vegetable dishes and three or four sweet porridges called payasam.

Traders said around 50 tonnes of vegetables and 3,000 cartons of banana leaves have been flown in in the past two days, anticipating the Vishu sale.

"We have supplied hundreds of cartons of konna flowers to the market for the day in addition to vegetables," said Jamseed Mohammad, sales manager at Greenbelt Group, which imports fruit and vegetables to the UAE.

A kilo of konna flowers costs Dh60 while a banana leaf is sold for Dh1.50 to Dh2.

The konna flower is an integral part of Vishu kani u an arrangement of fruit, vegetables, rice, white cloth and gold kept ready the previous night and which is viewed first thing in the morning.

Children and other family members are brought blindfolded from their beds to see the kani, complete with lighted lamps and pictures of the Hindu deity Krishna.

After seeing the kani, elder members of the family give the younger ones small gifts of cash.

For those who cannot squeeze in time to toil in the kitchen to prepare the Vishu feast, many Kerala restaurants are offering the sadhya.

Soby Joseph, manager of Nalukettu restaurant in Dubai Grand Hotel in Al Ghusais, said they already have over 400 bookings for takeaway Vishu feast.

"We are expecting more than 300 people to visit our outlet in addition to the takeaway orders," said Soby.

Families who celebrate Vishu in Dubai said they are keen that their children understand the significance of the day.

"I do not want my children to miss out on the cultural and religious significance of Vishu because they are growing up away from India. Every year, we make it a point to stay home and have a blast u of course, without fire crackers," said Sandeep Menon, a mechanical engineer from Kerala.

Mostly a south Indian festival, Vishu is the dawn of a new astronomical year, and the day marks the first day of the Malayalam month of Medam that corresponds with April in the Gregorian calendar. This year however, Vishu falls on Medam 2. The festival that heralds the arrival of spring is celebrated with mirth and gaiety in Hindu households on the belief that if the year is well begun, good fortune will continue throughout the year.

about the festival

new year

Mostly a south Indian festival, Vishu is the dawn of the new astronomical year, and the day marks the first day of the Malayalam month of Medam, which corresponds with April in the Gregorian calendar. This year, however, Vishu falls on Medam 2. The festival, which heralds the arrival of spring, is celebrated in the belief that if the year starts on a good note, good fortune will continue throughout the year.

u A.S.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Apr 15, 2010
Words:550
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