Cheti Chand is a New Year day celebrated by Sindhi community around the world. It is the birthday celebration of Sai Uderolal or Jhulelal as on this day water god Varun Devta has incarnated as Sai Uderolal or Jhulelal to protect Sindhis.
It is celebrated on the second day of the Chaitra month known as ‘Chet’ in Sindhi and moon becomes visible after amavasya (no moon day) on this day; moon is called as ‘Chand’ in Sindhi. Due to the first appearance of the moon during the Cheti month, this day is known as Cheti Chand. It is very auspicious day in Sindhi community.
Cheti Chand is celebrated in honor of the birthday of Water god (Varun Devta) Sai Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal, hence this festival is also known as ‘Jhulelal Jayanti’. This day is considered to be very auspicious and is celebrated with cheerfulness and gaiety. On this day, people worship water – the elixir of life. They also observe what is known as ‘Chaliho Sahab’ on this day.
Sindhi are known for their festivities and rituals. Every month celebrates a bunch of fiesta, but the most awaited festival of Sindhi’s is Cheti Chand-New Year.
When is it observed?
Cheti Chand mostly falls on next day of ‘Gudi Padwa’ and ‘Ugadi’ festival but sometimes it falls on same day as per Hindu lunar calendar. Cheti Chand is observed mostly on the second day of the Shukla Paksh of Chaitra month according to traditional Hindu lunar calendar when the moon is visible. It will be observe on Wednesday, 29th March 2017 as per the Hindu calendar.
Legend has it that, Sindh came to be ruled by the Sumras in the tenth century. Sindh was flourishing under the rule of the Sumras. Sumras were tolerant to all other religions. However a tyrant named Mirkshah was threatening Sindhi Hindus to either convert to Islam or face the death. Sindhi united to pray to the Water God – God Varuna for mercy. They neither shaved nor wore new clothes and with no shoes, praying and fasting and singing songs in praise of God Varuna. To their luck, their prayers were answered after 40 days of worship. The River God promised them that the divine child would be born in Nasarpur who will save them from the tortures of Mirkshah. The divine child took birth in the womb of Mata Devaki in the house of Rattan Rao Luhana of Nasarpur with name as “Uderolal“, ‘Udero’ in Sanskrit means who has sprung from the waters. It is to believe that this child was incarnation of God Varun. This child later came to be known as Saint Jhulelal as saviour God of Sindhis, whose birth anniversary is till date celebrated on Cheti Chand by the Sindhi as Jhulelal Jayanti in India.
This year it is 1,066th birth anniversary of God Jhulelal will be celebrated on Cheti Chand. The day holds importance as it is believed that Varun Dev appeared as Uderolal on the first day of Chet month to save Sindhi from the dictatorship of a ruler who wanted to destroy the Sindhi culture and Hinduism. It is also a day of worshiping and thanking the god of water, without which, life is impossible.
Even today Followers of Jhulelal perform this prayer for forty days (“Chaliho“) and celebrate “Thanksgiving Day” after “Chaliho“. This day is considered highly auspicious and is celebrated with much fanfare.
People observe fast and after offering prayers they break their fast with a mixture of coconut milk, sugar, molasses and fruits. On this day, many Sindhi take Baharana Sahib to a nearby river or lake. A procession is taken out to the river front or sea shore. Baharana Sahib consists of Jyot (Oil Lamp), Misiri (Crystal Sugar), Phota (Cardamom), Fal (Fruits), and Akha. Behind are Kalash (Water jar) and a Nariyal (Coconut) in it. The tray is covered with cloth, flowers and leaves. They also carry an idol of God Jhulelal.
A wheat flour lamp with five wicks is lit on a bronze plate which is filled with rice grains, pure ghee and vermillion; called Jyot Jagan is performed. After Bahrano Saheb is immersed in the water along with rice and sugar prasad called “Akho“, it is customary to sing Lal Sain’s Panjras and Pallav to seek his grace. After the worship of Jhulelal, the Sindhi community display and present their rich culture through dance, drama, music and folk arts.
This day is considered auspicious for the businessmen who start new account books to mark the start of a new economic year. Sindhi greets each other saying “Cheti Chand jyon Lakh Lakh Wadayun Athav” on Cheti