Keralites are celebrating the Malayalam New Year (Chingam 1) on Monday, 17 August, with festivities and traditional observances.
The auspicious first day in Malayalam calendar is welcomed by special prayers and ceremonies. Chingam is also of great significance as Onam, the biggest fesitval in Kerala, is celebrated in this month. Other festivals like Sri Krishna Jayanti and Ganesh Chaturthi also feature during this time.
The 10-day-long harvest festival, Onam, which begins from Atham (19 August), will be celebated on 28 August.
The Onam festival marks the commemoration of Vishnu's Vamana avatar. It is believed that during this time every year, the mythical King Mahabali visits his people in Kerala, his former kingdom, emerging from the netherworld.
Onam is also known all over the world for its special customs and rituals, including Pookkalam (flower carpet), Vallam Kali (boat race) Pulikali, Onathappan, Thumbi Thullal, Onavillu, Kazhchakkula, Onapottan and Atthachamayam.
Chingam 1 is considered as an auspicious day and celebrities have been wishing their fans on social media.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently in the UAE, also extended his greetings to Keralites all over the world on Malayalam New Year.
Check out celebrity wishes on Chingam 1 below:
Greetings to Malayali community at the start of Chingam, the 1st month of Malayalam New Year. May this year bring happiness & prosperity.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 17, 2015
Glad to mark this special day of Malayali community in UAE, where the community has a key presence & is admired for its industrious nature. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 17, 2015