Looking ahead to a season of peace, prosperity and plenty, Keralites on Sunday celebrated their traditional New Year ushering in the month of Chingam of the Malayalam calendar.
Setting aside their anxieties and worries, people cutting across religious barriers welcomed the season which makes the ever-green settings of Kerala all the more attractive with a profusion of fresh shoots and flowers.
The traditional New Year also signalled the countdown for Onam, the biggest festive occasion for the Malayalis.
Onam--- which commemorates a mythical past of prosperity, equality and justice under King Mahabali-- falls this year on September 11.
Coming after the lean month of Karkitakam, the New Year also marks season of harvests, weddings, launch of new ventures and house warmings for the tradition-bound society.
The New Year is also celebrated as Farmers' Day under the government patronage, signifying the key role played by agriculturists in sustaining Kerala's economy over the centuries. There was heavy rush in major temples across the state, where special poojas were held to usher in the season.
Kerala Governor R S Gavai, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy greeted Keralites on the occasion.