The Malayalam word "kani" literally means "that which is seen first", so "Vishukkani" means "that which is seen first on Vishu". The traditional belief is that one's future is a function of what one experiences, that the New Year will be better if one views auspicious joyful things as the first thing on Vishu. Therefore, Malayali Hindu women spend the day before preparing a setting, usually a tray, of auspicious items. This setting is the first thing they see when they wake up on the Vishu day.
The Vishukkani setting consists of items such as rice, golden lemon, golden cucumber, coconut cut open, jack fruit, kanmashi Kajal, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, golden yellow Konna flowers which bloom in the season of Vishu, holy Hindu texts, coins or currency notes, oil lamp (nilavilakku), and an image of the Hindu god Vishnu.
The tradition has been that one of the members of the house, typically the mom or elderly person lights up the lamps at dawn, then goes to each member of her family one by one, blindfolds and wakes each one up, walks them to the front of the setting. She then releases the blindfold so one can see the setting, and then greets the Vishu day