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 Sindhi Festivals

One of the oldest civilizations of human history, the Sindhis have a rich and clearly distinct cultural heritage and are very festive. Their most important festival is the birthday of Lord Jhulelal, Cheti Chand.

1. Cheti Chand

Celebration of the birth of Water god (Varun Devta), popularly known as Jhulelal.  In Sindh the beginning of the New Year was considered Cheti Chand . On the full moon day, people used to go to a river or lake and offer 'Akho'  with a pinch of rice mixed with milk and flour. If there was no river or 'Darya', the ritual was performed at a well.

2. Sagra (Sacred thread)

Sindhi Bhaibands often lived in foreign countries;  their wives were worried about the good health of their husbands. For this purpose they performed pooja and fasted on four Mondays of Sawan month, after which they perform pooja, distribute sweet rice and then had the sacred thread tied on the wrist by the priest (Bandhan).

3. Mahalakshmi's Sacred Thread (Mahalakshmi-a-jo-Sagro)

This sacred thread had 16 strips and 17 days. On the day when the sacred thread was to be untied, it was celebrated as an important day and special savouries like satpura and pakwan of Suji & Maida were made and distributed firstly to the priests and the poor and afterwards the remaining savouries were used by family members.

4. Fasts In Sindhis

generally Mondays & Saturdays, Giyaras or Umaas were observed as fasts ( vrats ). During the fast of Satyanarayan and nine days of Ekaanaas , only one time meal was generally taken.

5. Teejri

This festival takes place in the month of Sawan when married women and girls apply mehnde their hands and feet, keep fast for the whole day. Orthodox or strict Sindhi women do not even drink a sip of water until they break their fast. In the night after making an offering to the moon, they would break the fast. This is also referred to as the Sindhi version of Karwa Chauth.

6. Akhan Teej

On this day new earthen pots of water (matkas) were kept and everyone was offered clean and cool water. The significance of this day was to offer water to the thirsty. Hence at every nook and corner, sharbat , with pieces of apple in it, was offered to passersby along with 'prasad' . On this day, it was also customary to send new earthen pots and fruits to priests and Gurdwara.

7. AUnn-Matyo

In the month of Sawan , on the Baaras of Krishna Paksha, cereals were changed in food, i.e. instead of wheat and rice, chapatis made of gram flour (Besan) were eaten.

8. Ban Badhri

During the month of 'Bado' , during the Baaras of Shukla Paksha , god Varun had taken avtaar . In lieu of that small insects like ants etc. were fed Gur (jaggery) and Musti . Married daughters are invited by their parents for meals.

9. Somavati Umaas

During certain months Umaas takes place on a Monday. That day is considered important for having a "dumb dip' in the waters; without talking to anyone early in the morning. It is also, called 'Gungee Umaas" .

10. Nandhi and Vaddi Thadri

Both of these take place in the month of Sawan . On the day before Thadree day, people cook lola (sweet flour cakes) and rote (fried cakes) because there has to be no lighting of fire in the house on the Thadree day. The lolas and Rotes are eaten with curd or pickle. On that day drops of water are also sprinkled on the cooking fire to appease Sitladevi Mata.

11. Janamashtami, Ram Navmi and Shivratri

Since Krishna was born after midnight, on Janamashtami , bhajans and kirtan are held in temples till midnight. On Ram Navmi , Lord Rama's birthday is celebrated. On Shivratri people drink 'Thaadhal' , after making offering of it in the Mahadev temple. In the villages and cities, big pots of 'Taahri' (sweet rice) are prepared and distributed among all.

12. Tirmoori

On this festive day parents send ladoos & chiki ( Laaee ) made of Tils to their married daughters. On the Makar Sankrant day the sun moves from south to north. It is therefore also called 'utraan' or 'Tirmoori' . In Mahabharat battle Bhisham Pitamah did not breathe his last till ‘ utraan' since on this day there happens flush of light in Dev Lok .

13.Dassehra

Few days before Dassehra here used to be Ramlila program which was attended by throngs of people. On the Dassehra day colourful effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath were burnt.

14. Diyaaree

Two days before Diwali, Sindhis start lighting Diyaas (earthen lamps) from 'Dhan Teras' . Friends and relatives meet one another with affection and extended pleasantries and sweetmeats. In the night, Laxmi Poojan takes place when all the members of the family pray with reverence and respect. In the night, people used to take in their hands a stick to which a rag dipped in oil was tied which was burnt. It was called 'Mollawaro' ; everyone shouted 'Mollawaro..... Mollawaro'....

15. The Giyaras of Kati Before partition, on this day people in Sindh used to be engaged in giving charity. The whole bazaar would be full with hundreds of beggars and the needy, who would spread a cloth before them, on which people, according to their mite, would throw money, Bhugra , fruits etc. The jugglers used to arrange their Tamashas on the road with monkeys and bears dancing on the tunes played by the jugglers. An atmosphere of gaiety and gay prevailed all through the day.

16.Navratra

During these days’ devotees of Devi ate one meal a day and did not even shave and cut hair. Ladies sang bhajans . In Nagarparkar they used to dance like Garba in Gujrat.

17.  Lal Loi

Celebrated on the 13th of January every year, during Lal Loi kids used to bring wood sticks from their grand parents and aunties and like a fire camp burnt these sticks in the night with people enjoying, dancing and playing around fire and distributed prasad 'Sesa'; this continued till midnight.

18. Rakhri

During the Purnima of Sawan month sisters tied a Rakhi to their brothers. This day is called "Rakhree Bandhan'.  Sisters used to come from far off places and towns to specially tie Rakhis to their brothers. There was so much affection and love. Those cities and places where there were rivers or sea, people used to offer coconuts and milk to the God of Waters 'Varun Devta so that those who were traveling in ships and boats should have a safe and sound journey.

19. Shraadh

Just as in India the month of September 'Bado' was meant for Krishna Paksha as Pitar Pakhiya. Any member of the family who had died on particular (tithi) day and date, a Shraadh was offered for the solace of the deceased's soul. The Brahmins were given food and Dakhshna. Through this method the deceased members of the family are remembered and all the family members have a good gathering.

20. Nagapanchmi (Gogro)

during those days whenever the snake charmer brought snakes, they were given some Dakhshna. Nagpanchami is also called Gogro. It is folklore from Kutch and Gujarat.

21. Holi

The festival of colours in which all the young and old join together to express their joy at the change of season. Some people correlate Holi festival with Holika, the sister of Hirnakashyap, mythological father of Bhagat Prahlad.