The Malayalam New Year began in Kerala on Wednesday with Chingam -- first month of the year.
For Hindus in particular, the first day of the Chingam is considered auspicious for weddings, moving into a new home, buying a new vehicle and to start new ventures.
Although Vishu (first of Medam month) is the astronomical New Year day in Kerala, but the official Malayalam New Year falls on the first day of Chingam.
Most of the temples across the state witnessed a huge rush as Hindus begin the day by visiting temple.
Kerala women were seen dressed at theirbest, mostly in the traditional saree, on this day.
"Wherever we are, we start this day by visiting a temple. Today we have already prayed at three temples and this is one of the very few days in a year when I wear a saree," said Mridula Asok here.
Earlier, when agriculture was the principal occupation, Chingam signalled the arrival of harvest season, but with this activity now relegated, the biggest event in which all Keralites take part during this month is the Onam week.
This year, the Onam week will begin on September 11 with three main days from September 13 to 15.
"This was a day which brought cheer not only to the landowners but also to the working class as the monsoon would disappear with the end of the Karkadom month (a month when there is no activity on any fronts). Now, I doubt if there is any activity on the agricultural front," said 80-year-old Mercy Thomas from Kottayam.
Car dealers get roaring business on this day which was evident from more than three dozen new cars parked in front of the showrooms here.
In the media industry too, the Chingam month is keenly awaited as many of the leading vernaculars come out with extra supplements.
The Chingam month would end after the Onam week.