Keralites, who form the largest group of Indian expats in the UAE, are celebrating Vishu on Friday.
Lathika Rajesh from Tiruvalla, a radiotherapist-turned-homemaker living in Dubai, said the highlights of the harvest festival of Vishu are the Vishukkani [an arrangement of auspicious items which include gold, coins, new clothes, fresh fruits and vegetables and blossoms of kanikonna [cassia fistula known as the golden rain tree], that are viewed first on the day; Vishukaineettam [pocket money gifted to youngsters by older people at home]; and sadhya, the traditional vegetarian feast served on a banana leaf. “We will be buying the fresh vegetables and kanikkonna today. I will prepare the sadhya and payasam (a dessert) tomorrow. My brothers-in-law will join my family for lunch.”
Sangeetha Sunil from Thalassery in north Kerala, who lives in Sharjah, said Vishu brings back nostalgic memories to most expats. “The festivities used to be different back home. We used to wait for Vishu to get Vishukaineettam to enjoy our holidays. It is not a big deal for today’s children, especially kids raised here,” she said.
A mother of two teens, Sangeetha said she misses the bursting of firecrackers during the festival back home.
While Malayalees celebrate Vishu on Friday, for the Christian community the day will see the observance of Good Friday.
Thara Thankachan, an IT sales professional, said her friends postponed having their Vishu feast with her to Saturday to allow her to observe Good Friday. “This time I cannot join them for Vishu lunch as it is Good Friday. So, they are celebrating Vishu again on Saturday to have a get-together with me,” she said.
Hypermarkets and supermarkets reported a huge rush of people buying Vishu items while several restaurants are expecting tens of thousands of customers to relish the Vishu sadhya comprising 25 or more items.