About Cheti Chand
Cheti Chand is an important festival celebrated by Sindhi people of Pakistan and India. In Sindh the beginning of the new year was considered Cheti Chand. It is seen as an auspicious day for business as it also marks the start of the new financial year. The Sindhi community celebrates the festival of Cheti Chand to commemorate the birth anniversary of Ishtadeva Uderolal which is popularly known as Jhulelal, the patron saint of Sindhis.
The auspicious day is also known Jhulelal Jayanti, and marks the arrival of spring. Several Indian communities, celebrate their new year around spring, which is also known as the king of seasons.
It is the day when the New Moon becomes visible after no moon day. Due to the first appearance of the moon during the Cheti month, this day is known as Cheti Chand. This day is considered to be very auspicious and is celebrated with pompous and gaiety. On this day, people worship water – the elixir of life.
Jhulelal became the key deity of the Sindhi people, and is as a bearded figure holding a book and a mala sitting on a fish. He is also revered by Sufi Muslims, who associate him with Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a Sufi saint. Among his Sufi Muslim followers, Jhulelal is known as “Khwaja Khizir” or “Sheikh Tahit”.
When it is celebrated
According to Hindu calendar, Cheti Chand is celebrated on the second day of Chaitra Shukla Paksha. This means it usually falls in late March or early April in the Gregorian calendar and generally takes place on the same day as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi.
Followers of Jhulelal observe Chaliho Sahab. It suggests that for forty long days and nights they underwent rituals and vigil on the bank of Sindhu. They did not shave, nor did they wear new clothes or shoes. They did not use soap or oil or any opulent thing. They just washed their clothes, dried them and wore them again. In the evening, they worshipped God Varun, sang songs in his praise and prayed for their solace and salvation. After 40 days of Chaaliho, the followers of Jhulelal celebrate the occasion with festivity as ‘Thanks Giving Day’ even till today.
This day has importance as it is believed that Varun Dev appeared as Uderolal to save Sindhi community 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.
The followers of Jhulelal perform the prayer for forty days (“Chaliho“) and celebrate “Thanksgiving Day” after “Chaliho.” Devotees observe fast, and after offering prayers, they break their fast with coconut milk, sugar, molasses, and fruits. Many Sindhi take Baharana Sahib to a nearby river or lake. Baharana Sahib consists of Oil Lamp, Crystal Sugar, Cardamom, Fruits, and Akha along with Water jar and a Coconut in it. The plate is covered with cloth, flowers, and leaves.
They also carry an idol of God Jhulelal. Sindhi communities come out in a festive gathering where they sing and dance to their folk tunes in front of idols of Jhule lal. A wheat flour lamp with five wicks is lit on a bronze plate which is filled with rice grains, pure ghee, and vermilion; called Jyoti 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 blessings.
The festival of Cheti Chand is celebrated with fairs, feasts and processions of icons of Jhulelal and other Hindu deities. It is also celebrated by the Sindhi dispora around the world.
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