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Celebration of Kerala's Tradition & Culture

Harvest Festival

Apart from folktales, Onam is also a celebration of the harvest season. After the rainy season of Karkidakam, Chingam comes with the hope of a good harvest and prosperity. Chingam arrives with all the essential ingredients to make it a season of celebration. Medam and Chingam are two transitional seasons in our farming cycle. New saplings are sown on the tenth day of Medam.  This is followed by harvest of grains and long-term crops during Chingam. 

The significance of Chingam lies in the fact that it serves as a harvest month and a period for the planning of the distribution and preservation of the entire produce so that it can last through the year. The crops are divided for consumption and storage for the remaining months and the seeds must be carefully stored for the next sapling season. The water reservoirs are replenished and the lands are conditioned for cultivation by the rainy season of Karkidakam that precedes the month of Chingam.

The farming calendar begins with April. Asterisms or njatuvelas are used to guide the farming cycles beginning with the njatuvela of the month of Aswathy as per the Hindu calendar and ending with the njatuvela in the month of Makam. Previously, Chingam was a time of sunny days; a time to ready oneself for the next cycle of farming after a season of celebration, fun and feasting. In a way, the 10 days to Onam are a time of prepping for the new season of Chingam, separating grains into seeds and seedlings; a time when the granaries are abundantly filled; a time when the changes to the environment after Karkidakam are noted. Chingam arrives after the earth has been drenched in the monsoon rain. The rainwaters would have brought with sediments rich in minerals to revitalize the farms; fertilizers were unheard of then; men and women worked hand-in-hand. Onam was also a time when the yards and farms, houses and cowsheds were all given a thorough cleaning. While Karkidakam is associated with poverty, Chingam brings the dawn of new hope. The farmlands are enriched after a harvest season. Indeed, Onam is a time that brings alive pleasant memories of a rich farming tradition.

Festival Calendar