Chingam 1 & its Significance
Chingam (August – September) is the first month in the Malayalam calendar used in Kerala. The first day of Chingam is the beginning of the New Year according to the Malayalam calendar and is locally referred as (Andu Pirappu). Chingam(August-September) is the time of harvest in Kerala. After the rain drenched Karkidakam with its privations, Chingam is a welcome month of plenty.The first day is welcomed by special pujas and people in large numbers visit the temples. The day is of great significance to the farmers. In 2011, Chingam 1 falls on August 17.
As per Malayalam calendar, Kolla Varsham 1187 (the Malayalam year) begins on August 17. Onam the most popular festival of Malayalis is observed in this month. Onam is celebrated over ten days; it comes to an end with the grand celebrations on the tenth day called ‘Thiruvonam’. Onam celebrations start from the day of Atham which is on August 31st ( Chingam 15) this year and culminate on Thiruvonam which falls on 9th of September ( chingam 24). At some places the celebrations even extend to twelve days called as ‘Chatayam’(on 26th of September). However, Atham and Thiru Onam are the most important days for Onam celebrations. The days for these celebrations are decided according to the position of stars. The festival is supposed to start from the appearance of the lunar asterism (a cluster of stars smaller than a constellation) Atham (Hastha), that appears ten days before asterism Thiruvonam. Thiruvonam actually corresponds to the Shravan day in the month of August or September and that is why it is also known as Sravanotsavam. At this time, the sun is also located in the Zodiac sign of Leo which in return happens to be located in the sun’s house as well.
The month is considered highly auspicious and numerous marriages and other ceremonies take place in the month. Special schemes and several new initiatives are made in the agricultural sector in this month.