Abu Dhabi: Thousands of Keralites living in the UAE woke up to a colourful arrangement in their homes on Sunday morning to celebrate Vishu, the New Year festival of the south Indian state of Kerala.

The celebration started with Kani kanal, meaning first sight, for which they made arrangements the previous night.

On Vishu, Keralites believe that one should see good things in the morning as this determines their fortunes for the entire year.

Hypermarkets across the UAE displayed traditional items brought from Kerala to arrange the Kani kanal. At the weekend, people made a beeline for the special sections at hypermarkets to buy items for Vishu.

According to the Gregorian calendar Vishu falls on April 14, the same day when other Indian states also celebrate their New Year’s day and harvest festivals — it’s known as Ronagali Bihu in the north-eastern state of Assam, Puthandu in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Baisakhi in the north Indian state of Punjab and Naba Barsha in the west Indian state of Bengal.

The offering, the Vishu Kani, containing auspicious items, consists of rice placed on a plantain leaf on a brass vessel.

There is also a new piece of cloth, a yellow cucumber, betel leaves and nuts, a metal mirror, yellow flowers of the konna tree, gold, coins and coconut halves containing oil with burning wicks. A brass lamp with coconut oil is lit near the vessel.

On Vishu, the eldest female member of the house wakes up first to look at the vessel. Other members of the family are then woken to have a look and care is taken to see that they do not look at anything else.

Sadya, a delicious meal prepared of rice, vegetables and fruits, in the afternoon is the next important part of the celebrations. Though most Keralites prepared Vishu Kani, they have postponed Sadya to the next weekend as Sunday is a working day here..

But some of them were fortunate enough to get special leave from their companies. “I am permitted to take leave on all Indian festivals,” said Bablu Ashok, an administrator in Abu Dhabi. “I just went to the office in the morning for some urgent work but returned home by afternoon,” said Ashok who enjoyed Sadya with his wife and daughter.