Chingam- the dawn of new hopes

Kerala is celebrating another New Year, according to the Malayalam calendar, also known as “Kollavarsham”. (Kollavarsham - 1184)

The Malayalam era called Kolla Varsham (or Kollam era) was established in 825 CE. Some historians attribute the founding of this era to King Udaya Marthanda Varma, King of Venad. Chingam is the first month of the Malayalam Calendar. "Onam", the harvest festival, is one of the most important festivals of Kerala, is celebrated during the month of Chingam. This comes during August or September of Gregorian Calendar. The last month of the calendar ie., Karikdakam, is celebrated as Ramayanamasam.

The Malayalam Calendar months are named after the constellations in which the Sun is seen during the period. Thus Chingam (from Simham or Lion) is named after the constellation Leo. Interestingly parts of central Kerala consider Medam as the start of the year cycle. The Vishu festival signifies the start of the new year comes generally in middle of April.

Chingam , the first month of the calendar ushers in ONAM, the national fiesta of Kerala. After the rain drenched Karkidakam with its privations, Chingam is a welcome month of plenty. The sky becomes blue, the deep forest becomes greener and it is time to reap the harvest, time to celebrate and to rejoice along with the Nature. And Onam epitomizes the newfound vigour and enthusiasm about everything around. It is celebrated with traditional Malayalee fervour with visit to temples, family get-togethers, gifting each other clothes called Ona-kkodi and lots of merry making.

This picturesque ten-day harvest festival has been part of Malayalee psyche for centuries now. There are records of Onam being celebrated during the Sangam Age. Onam festivities have been recorded during the time of Kulasekhara Perumals around A.D 800. It is believed that during those days the whole of Chingam was celebrated as Onam season.

Table showing Malayalam months and their corresponding months in other calendar systems.

Malayalam MonthEnglish MonthsSaka MonthsHijra Months
ChingamAugust - SeptemberSravana - BhadraRajab - Sha`ban
KanniSeptember - OctoberBhadra - AsvinaSha`ban - Ramadan
ThulamOctober - NovemberAsvina - KartikaRamadan - Shawwal
VrischikamNovember - DecemberKartika - AgrahayanaShawwal - Dhu l-Qa`da
DhanuDecember - JanuaryAgrahayana - PausaDhu l-Qa`da - Dhu l-Hijja
MakaramJanuary - FebruaryPausa - MaghaDhu l-Hijja - Muharram
KumbhamFebruary - MarchMagha - PhalgunaMuharram - Safar
MeenamMarch - AprilPhalguna - CaitraSafar - Rabi`al-Awwal
MedamApril - MayCaitra - VaisakhaRabi`al-Awwal - Rabi`ath-Thani
EdavamMay - JuneVaisakha - JyaisthaRabi`ath-Thani - Jumada l-Ula
MidhunamJune - JulyJyaistha - AsadhaJumada l-Ula - Jumada t-Tania
KarkhidakamJuly - AugustAsadha - SravanaJumada t-Tania - Rajab

Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »