Cheti Chand - Sindhi New Year


In this world some communities base their calendars on the movements of the Sun and others base on the movements of the Moon. We, Sindhis, calculate our calendar on the movements of the Moon. Our month begins with the new Moon, Know as chand and our new year starts on Cheti Chand, the new moon on the first day of the month Chet.

 

On that day we worship the Lord of the seas or the water God or God Varuna. Like Diyari this worship of water God also has double significance for the Sindhis.

Worship of water is an Aryan custom of worshipping the five elements of Nature. Secondly, our Sindhi businessmen carry ship loads on the bosom of the ocean for doing business, so their wives worship the water God for the welfare and safe return of their husbands and pray to the Lord of ocean to bless their husbands to bring back riches with them. Jhulela means one who is swinging to and fro. The water of the ocean keeps moving so it is known as "living God" ("Zinda Peer"). We believe that this living deity blesses us with material goods.

 

It is and ancient custom to ask some thing from the water. In olden days, Indian young ladies and girls used to take a dip in the river early in the morning and ask from it a good husband. The "Qutab Minar" at Delhi was also a tower made by a Hindu King for his princess to have a view of river Yamuna daily early in the morning. In Sind, they used to say that if a chidless woman visits a river and takes a silent dip in it, she will be blessed with a baby boy. Sindhis worship God Jhelela for enhancing their business. Shah has in many songs described various moods of water-Frightening ocean, ocean ready to swallow, benonvolent sea, sea worshipped by the businessmen, the giver of diamonds and precious treasures,etc.

 

In Rajasthan the ladies of the warrior class used to worship the horses and request them to help their husbands to win battles and bring them back. Same way in Sind, the women folk of the business community used to worship the water God to request him to bless their husbands to earn well and come back home with lots of wealth.

 

The story of Udnichand being born to Seth Ratanchand is a symbolic one. In sanskrit the ocean is called Ratankar and the water is called is Udak. Our Uderolal is related to the world Udak and Ratanchand with Ratnakar.

 

Riding on 'Hilsa' fish is symbolic of riding on water.

 

"Chej" dance is a dance of waves. Crossing over the sea, we offer or drop Akho (rice) or some fruit with devotion. Akho is derived from the sanskrit word 'Aksha' which means rice. In sind when we used to go to Karachi from Hyderabad, our mother used to give us rice tied in some piece of cloth and two bananas saying offer it while ceossing the ocean.

 

Taken from the Sindhi writeup by Popati R. Hiranandani, translated by Pushpa H. Advani.



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