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Kollavarsham is the name of the Malayalam solar calendar. All temple events in Kerala were decided according to the dates in the Malayalam calendar, the 27 stars and the 30 Tithies. All festivals and agricultural activities in Kerala are also based on the Kollavarsham. The Malayalam calendar or the Kolla Varsham has been in place since CE 825. 1193 Kolla Varsham or Malayalam Year of the Malayalam calendar began on 17 August, 2017. This calendar is referred to when most of our events and festivals are held. It has 12 months and following is name of the month in the Malayalam calendar and the corresponding month in the English calendar:

Malayalam Masam Gregorian Calendar Month
Chingam August 16th - September 15th
Kanni September 16th - October 15th
Thulam October 16th - November 15th
Vrischikam November 16th - December 15th
Dhanu December 16th - January 15th
Makaram January 16th - February 15th
Kumbham February 16th - March 15th
Meenam March 16th - April 15th
Medam April 16th - May 15th
Edavam May 16th - June 15th
Mithunam June 16th - July 15th
Karkidakam July 16th - August 15th

It is a solar sidereal calendar meaning that the entire year is the time the earth takes to complete a single orbit of the sun. The sun ecliptic is divided into twelve parts called raashis, starting from the point of Meshaadi or Medam and moving eastwards. The day on which the sun transits into each raashi before sunset is taken to be the first day of the month. In case the sun transits into a raashi after a sunset but before the next sunrise, then the next day is the first day of the month. (Minor variations on this definition exist) The days are then labeled 1, 2, 3…. till the first day of the next month. Like the Roman calendar the Malayalam Calendar also is based on 12 months. But these months are named after the star constellations rising on the orbit of the earth. Thus we get twelve months with varying lengths of 29 to 32 days. This variation in length occurs because the earth's orbit around the sun is an ellipse, but also because of some variability in the transit point falling before or after sunrise. The months are named by the raashi in which the sun travels in that month.