India is known as one of the most ancient countries in the world and home to numerous festivals, cultures, religions, and communities. One such ancient and well-known community is the Sindhi community. In this post, we showcase one of its major and important festivals – the Cheti Chand or Jhulelal Jayanti.
Sindhis are particularly known for their rich cultural history. Their Cheti Chand or Jhulelal Jayanti is one of their old and traditional festivals.
This festival is an expression of their rich cultural heritage and is celebrated by the Sindhi community all throughout the world with great joy and enthusiasm.
Actually, “Jhulelal” is the name of their God, who is often referred to as “Ishtadeva Uderolal”, “Varun Devta” or Water God.
The Jhulelal Jayanti or Cheti Chand festival commemorates the birth anniversary of their patron saint Jhulelal. The day is considered highly auspicious by the Sindhi community who celebrate the occasion with full fanfare.
Moreover, the day of the Cheti Chand festival is regarded as Sindhi “New Year”. Sindhis follow the “Vikram Sambat” Calendar, which has its origin linked with the Hindu king Vikramaditya. In this calendar “Chaitra” is regarded as the first month which the Sindhis call as “Chet”.
Also, every new month in this calendar begins with the new moon; hence, the name of the festival is referred to as the Sindhi Community as “Cheti Chand”.
Therefore, this special day is not only the birthday of deity Jhulelal but also marks the beginning of a new year. Hence, this festival assumes great importance for the Sindhi community all over the world.
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Why Cheti Chand / Jhulelal Jayanti is Celebrated
As enumerated above the Cheti Chand or Jhulelal Jayanti Festival is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Sindhi saint Jhulelal, who is often referred by different names such as Ishta Dev and Dariyalal.
He is regarded by the Sindhi people as the incarnation of Hindu God “Varuna”. He is supposed to have lived around the 10th Century A.D.
Having said that, like most of the other Indian celebrations, the Cheti Chand or Jhulelal Jayanti celebrations also have their own set of history or mythology that needs to be understood.
The legend of Jhulelal has its origin in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The Sindhi Hindus were facing torture and forcible conversions from tyrannical Muslim ruler Mirkshah. He had issued a deadline to the resident Sindhi Hindus to convert to Islam or die.
To save themselves from the wicked Mirkshah, the Sindhi Hindus turned to God Varuna, the God of the River. They underwent penance, prayed and took to fasting; singing songs in praise of their Lord Varuna.
On a fortieth day, a voice from Heaven was heard that assured them that they would be saved from the clutches of Mirkshah. It said to them that a child would be born to Mata Devki in the house of Ratanchand Lohano of Nasarpur who would liberate them from the cruel rule of Mirkshah.
Finally, it was confirmed that Mata Devki had indeed conceived. The Lord Varuna had incarnated himself in her womb. All the Sindhi Hindus rejoiced and praised the Lord for hearing this great news.
On Cheti Chand, Mata Devki gave birth to a baby boy. The child was named “Udaichand”. He was popularly known as Jhulelal – The Swinging Child.
As time progressed, the child Jhulelal grew in stature and spirit. He performed miracles upon miracles and comforted the sick.
Sindhi people were now convinced that Lord Varuna had come to save them from the cruel rule of Mirkshah.
The news of the miraculous Jhulelal soon reached Mirkshah, who decided to arrest him. However, he was unsuccessful in his attempts. He was struck by the acts and performance of Jhulelal and realized his mistake. He pleaded to Jhulelal, “Please save my courtiers” and me and agreed to treat Hindus and Muslims equally.
So Jhulelal, the incarnated form of Varuna Devta protected Sindhi Hindus. The Sindhi community celebrates their Savior’s birth anniversary with great love and devotion all throughout the world. On the day of Cheti Chand, they pay their respect to their loving Lord Jhulelal.
The Festivities of Cheti Chand / Jhulelal Jayanti
The Festival of Cheti Chand is an occasion for great celebrations. The Sindhi Community from all across the globe engages in religious and joyous activities on this special and pious day.
They worship Lord Jhulelal and perform major “Aarthi” on this day. Sindhi people worship water as it is the birthday of the incarnation of Varuna God – The God of Water.
Charitable activities are performed such as the distribution of clothes and food to poor and needy. Delicious meals are prepared and whole family members sit and eat together.
They sing hymns in praise of Lord Jhulelal, such as “O Lal Meri Pat Rakhiyo Bala Jhule Lalan …” It is the occasion when Sindhi people carry oil lamps, crystal sugar, cardamom, and fruits to Sindhu River and perform Pooja dedicated to Water God.
All together Cheti Chand or Jhulelal Jayanti is a festival of joy, happiness, and celebration.
Cheti Chand Date 2020
The date of the Cheti Chand Festival is calculated based on the Hindu calendar. According to this calendar, Cheti Chand is celebrated on the second day of Chaitra Shukla Paksha. Usually, one day after Ugadi and Gudi Padwa.
It is the day when New Moon appears after no moon day. As the new moon becomes visible for the first time in the Cheti month, the name of the festival is given as Cheti Chand.
It celebrates the birth anniversary of Saint Jhulelal who was born during the 10th Century in the Sindh Province.
In 2020, Cheti Chand will be celebrated on 25th March 2020 (Wednesday)
Jhulelal Jayanti Date