The festival of Vishu is celebrated with joy and mirth on the first day of Malayalese month of Medam. This corresponds to the month of April-May according to Gregorian calendar. The occasion holds a lot of significance for Hindus as Vishu marks the Astronomical New Year Day. The traditional people of Kerala practice a lot of colorful rituals and customs on Vishu. Most of these traditions are based on a belief that Vishu must be celebrated well as the good things of the first day of the New Year will continue for the rest of the year too.
Vishu is celebrated in the State Kerala on the same day is also celebrated as New year in several other parts of India such as Punjab (Baisakhi), Assam (Bihu), Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka where it is known as Bisu as well as in Tamil Nadu and Ugadi in(Andhra Pradesh).
The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukani, which literally "the first to be seen on the VIshu day." The Vishukkani consist of a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like raw rice, fresh linen, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, the yellow flowers konna, jackfruit and a holy text and coins in a bell metal vessel called uruli in the puja room of the House. A lighted bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is also placed alongside. The arrangemnt is completed the previous night. On the day of VIshu, the custome is to wake up at dawn and go to the puja room with the eyes closed so that the Vishukkani is the first sight of the new season. Since the occasion marks the beginning of Malayalam New Year, it is also considered asuspicious to read verses from Hindu Holy book Ramayanam after seeing the Vishukkani.
High turn-out has been recorded in the elections in Kerala, with 48.5% polling in the first six hours. Around 2.31 crore voters will elect their representatives to 13th state Assembly in 20,758 polling booths all over the state today.
The highest polling was recorded in Kannur district – 53.2%. Kasargod (51.6%), Alappuzha (51.1%), Ernakulam (50.6%) and Kozhikode (50.4%) are close behind. Thiruvananthapuram has the least poll percent with only 43.0% at 1 pm today. Other districts’ poll percentage is as follows: Wayanad – 49.2%, Malappuram – 47.0%, Palakkad – 49.9%, Thrissur – 49.3%, Idukki – 47.6%, Kottayam – 49.2%, Pathanamthitta – 45.7% and Kollam – 46.7%.
The polling began at 7 am. Some voters who didn’t have the slip could not vote in some places. There have also been instances of the electronic voting machines not working properly in some places.
Kerala is used to elect the UDF and the LDF in alternate elections to the Assembly for around two decades. The LDF seeks a change in that trend and to vote it again to power for the continuation of the development works. Whereas, the UDF seeks a chance arguing the LDF has brought the state down in the matter of development.
A total of 971 candidates, including a mere 78 women, are contesting to the 140 seats in the 14 districts. The most number of candidates are in Poonjar – 13. The voters consist of 1.2 crore women and 1.1 crore men. And for the first time in history, expatriates also can vote in this election. There are 8862 expatriate voters. There are around 1.25 lakh people working on the election duty.
The Laughing BuddhaThe Laughing Buddha is one of the most popular symbols used by Feng Shui Consultants for enhancing the good luck and wealth. Laughing Buddha is also known as Happy Buddha or Matreiya. This Buddha is regarded as one of the gods of wealth and keeping this symbol at home is said to bring prosperity, happiness and success. Keeping this figurine at the place of business is said to enhance business and money luck. Laughing Buddha absorbs negative Chi and emanates positive energies. This is a very auspicious symbol and can be seen gracing many homes, temples, restaurants and vehicle dash boards. This is an excellent gift item for a loved one.
The celestial Buddha named Hotei or Pu-Tai is best known as the jolly Laughing Buddha. In China, he is known as the Loving or Friendly One. He is based on an eccentric Chinese Ch'an (Zen) monk who lived over 1,000 years ago and has become a significant part of Buddhist and Shinto culture. Because of this monk's benevolent nature, he came to be regarded as an incarnation of the bodhisattva who will be Maitreya (the Future Buddha). His large protruding stomach and jolly smile have given him the common designation "Laughing Buddha."
The Laughing Buddha's image graces many temples, restaurants, and amulets, as he has become a deity of contentment and abundance. The image of Hotei is almost always seen carrying a cloth or linen sack (that which never empties) which is filled with many precious items, including rice plants (indicating wealth), candy for children, food, or the woes of the world. He is patron of the weak, poor and children.
Laughing Buddha statues depict a stout, smiling or laughing bald man in robes with a largely exposed pot belly stomach, which symbolizes happiness, good luck, and plenitude. Some sculpture has small children at his feet. Another item that is usually seen with the Laughing Buddha figure is a begging bowl to represent his Buddhist nature.
In some scenes the Laughing Buddha may be found sitting on a cart drawn by boys, or wielding a fan called an oogi (said to be a "wish giving" fan -- in the distant past, this type of fan was used by the aristocracy to indicate to vassals that their requests would be granted). All of these images display Hotei as a wandering monk who goes around and takes the sadness from people of this world.
According to legend, if one rubs the Laughing Buddha's great belly, it brings forth wealth, good luck, and prosperity. Hotei is also referred to as the patron saint of restaurateurs, fortunetellers and bartenders. When one overeats or over drinks, friends jokingly attribute it to the Laughing Buddha's influence.
The Laughing Buddha figurine is seen with protruding stomach and jolly smile. He is usually depicted carrying wealth symbols such as pots of gold, large ingots and a sack believed to contain treasures. This Buddha is believed to be a person having extraordinary happiness, patience and compassion. It is said that he stomachs all the troubles and problems and transforms them into happiness. The Laughing Buddha is also considered a patron of the weak, poor and children. The Buddha figurines are available in several materials like metal, Tera Cota, resin, crystals etc and are available in different poses each of which carry a different significance.
When buying the Laughing Buddha figurines try getting a bigger one if possible. There are Buddha’s available in different poses but the one carrying pot of gold, large ingots or sack filled with treasures is considered the best for wealth luck. The ideal placement of the Buddha figurine is at about thirty inches in height and directly facing the main door or on a side table or corner table diagonally opposite to the front door and facing the door. It is said to be disrespectful to keep them it in the ground. Students can place the figurine on the study table for getting better results in studies. Keeping this Feng Shui Symbol on the Office or Reception table at the business place is said to bring in financial gains. This figurines need not be worshiped placement is good enough. However, many Feng shui experts’ advice not to keep the Laughing Buddha symbols in the bedroom, bathroom or dining area.
Cinematic Dance performed by Master Adhvaith Krishna B. S on the occasion of Thengavila Devi Temple Utsav 2011. Thengavila Devi temple is one of the oldest temple in South Kerala, India which is located near Kovalam.
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