Chingam month (August – September), also known as Chinga Masam, is the first month in the traditional Malayalam calendar used by Hindus in Kerala. In 2016, Chingam month begins on August 17. The first day of Chingam month marks the beginning of the New Year according to the Malayalam calendar and is locally referred as Andu Pirappu. The month ends on September 16. Onam, Sri Krishna Jayanti and Ganesh Chaturthi are observed in this month. Numerous marriages are also held in this auspicious month.
The first day of Chingam month is welcomed by special pujas and prayers and people in large numbers visit the temples. Earlier, the day used to be of great significance to the farmers.
As per Malayalam calendar, Kolla Varsham 1192 (the Malayalam year) begins on August 17, 2016. The Malayalam Panchangam for the year is also released in this month.
Thiruonam, the most popular festival of Malayalis, is observed in this month. The 10-day Onam festival begins on the Atham Nakshatram in the Chingam month an the main Onam festival is celebrated on the Thiruonam Nakshatram day in the month.
The month is considered highly auspicious by Hindu astrologers and numerous marriages and other ceremonies take place in the month.
It must be noted that Vishu (April 14 or 15) is also celebrated as New Year day by Malayalis and it is the zodiac New Year. The first month in a Malayalam calendar is Chingam.