Cheti Chand is an important festival celebrated as New Year’s Day by Sindhi people of India and Pakistan. It is also celebrated by the Sindhi diaspora around the world. According to the Hindu calendar, it is the second day of the month chaitra (i.e. a day after Ugadi and Gudi Padwa), known as Chet in the Sindhi language. Hence it is known as Chet-i-Chand.
The Sindhi community celebrates the festival of Cheti Chand in honour of the birth of Ishtadeva Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal, the patron saint of the Sindhis. This day is considered to be very auspicious and is celebrated with pomp and gaiety. On this day, people worship water – the elixir of life.
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. During the Chaliho they do not shave, nor do they wear new clothes or shoes. They do not use soap or oil or any opulent thing. They just wash their clothes, dry them and wear them again. In the evening, they worship Varun (Vedic deity of water and cosmic order), sing songs in his praise and pray for solace and salvation. After 40 days of Chaaliho, the followers of Jhulelal celebrate the occasion with festivity as ‘Thanks Giving Day’ even till today.
On this day, many Sindhis take Baharana Sahib to a nearby river or lake. Baharana Sahib consists of Jyot (Oil lamp), Misiri (Crystal Sugar), Phota (Cardamom), Fal (Fruits), and Akha. Behind is Kalash (Water jar) and a Nariyal (Coconut) in it, covered with cloth, phool (flowers) and patta (leaves). There is also a Murti (statue) of Pujya Jhulelal Devta (Pujya=Worthy of worship, Devta=Deity).