The typical Sindhi festivals include Cheti Chand, Teejri, Thadri and Utraan but the Sindhis also celebrate major Hindu festivals like Diwali, Holi and Basant Panchami.
Cheti Chand is the name given to the Sindhi New Year which is celebrated every year in March-April to mark the birth anniversary of Ishtadeva Uderolal Jhulelal (Jhoolelal), who is considered by the Sindhis to be the reincarnation of Lord Varuna or the God of Water. For centuries the Sindhi merchants have been traversing through the waters by ships carrying their cargoes to distant lands. As such, water has a special significance for the Sindhis.
A majority of the Sindhi sub-sects like Shikarpuris, Sahitis, Larkanas, Sakhru and Bhai Bands’ celebrate Cheti Chand in the Jhulelal mandirs (tikanas) across the country, but the Hyderabadi Amils celebrate it in gurudwaras, which are similar to the Sikh gurudwaras.
Teejri or ‘Sindhi Teej’ is a very popular festival that is celebrated in the monsoons by almost all Sindhi women. Teejri is similar to Karwa Chouth and Hariyali or Kajari Teej. On this day Sindhi women keep fasts for their beloved ones and pass their day singing folk songs. In the evening a special thali is prepared with offeing of ‘Argh’ (a dish made out of rice and milk) and offered to the moon.
Teejri is in the month of Shrawan and normally falls on the 3rd day after the full moon falling in August.
Thadri, which means means Thadho (Cold), is celebrated in the month of Sawan, on the seventh day of the waning moon. Thadri is celebrated to signify the birth of Yoga-Maya, the sister of Lord Krishna. Thadri is also celebrated for Devi Mata (Chandi Mata– Durga Devi in ChandiRoop) when people used to get small pox or chickenpox. The festival is also called ‘Satain’ as Godess Sitala is worshipped to ward off measles, chicken pox and small pox.
Thadri is a day when fire is not lit in the house. The food is prepared a day prior to the festival. The Thadri spread includes dishes like Mitho Lolos, Akhriyoon, Besani Koki, Moongan ji Daal jo phulko,Chotha, etc.
On this day, some people play card games as they relate life to a game and believe that success and failure should be taken in one’s stride.
Utraan or Tirmoori:
Utraan or Uttaran or Tirmoori is a Sindhi Festival that marks the onset of Uttarayana Punyakalam or the commencement of the Sun’s journey to the Northern Hemisphere or Makar Rashi or Capricorn. Utraan or Uttaran is the Sindhi equivalent of the ‘Makar Sankranti‘ festival, which is celebrated in several parts of India on January 14th coinciding with the commencement of the winter solstice. During this festival people fly kites in the sky. Sindhis compare this outdoor sport to life where one needs to know the art of pulling and letting loose just as in kite flying. Kite-flying is also symbolizes spiritualism as the kite flyer tries to reach out to the skies.
According to the Hindu mythology, Utraan is considered to be an auspicious time, during which the legendary Bheeshma of the Mahabharata fame decided to leave for his heavenly abode.