Sindhis celebrate all the hindu festivals like Holi, Diwali, Janmashtmi, Ram Navmi, Dashera, Raksha Bandhan, Naag Panchmi. These are few festivals only associated with Sindhi community and celebrated by Sindhis all across the world. Sindhi Festivals and important days are based on movement of the moon. So Sindhi Calendar can also be called as Lunar calendar.
These Hindu and Sindhi Festivals with dates in current year can be found on this Sindhi Calendar Link (Sindhi TIpno) : https://sindhyat.com/tipno/
A festival is a special day, which comes once in a year. It is an important day, which is celebrated joyfully, in a festive mood.All Sindhi festivals have their origin in the ancient Aryan culture. The ‘Ar’ means ‘hai’ (plough). The Aryans were mainly agricultural people, as such many of our festivals are connected with the harvest. Punjabis also celebrate ‘Baisakhi’ in connection with the harvesting season.
Festivals denote the change of seasons. ‘Uttran’ heralds the end of biting cold. Slowly the winter gives way and spring is ushered in by “Basant Panchami”, “Diyari” the festival of lights is celebrated to mark the end of rainy season and beginning of the winter.
The Aryans were worshipers of Nature and its five elements. Sindhis as well as Punjabis celebrate “lalloi”, which is, in fact, worship of Agni(Fire). Among Kutchis, the Lohana community and Sindhis also worship Water God. On every full moon day, Satya-narain pooja is conducted and Sindhis worship Moon God. On the day of ‘Uttran’, the Sun moves towards the North and whole atmosphere becomes clear. On that day we worship the Sun God.
The Aryans had designated special festivals for different castes. For example, “Holi” is celebrated by Shudras and Diyari(Diwali) is a festival of Vasiya(Business) community. ‘Dussehra’ is a special day for the Kshatriyas(warrior) caste and “Uttran’ is a day of worship for Brahmins.
The Aryans had assigned these special days for gleeful celebrations. The Hindus do not have any festival or special day for mourning. We often celebrate the birthdays of our dear departed ones as we believe that death is nothing but a happy passage to new life.
In this rainy season we have quite a few festivals like chaliho (fortieth day), Thadri (cold day), Teejri (third day) and Basant Panchami.
According to the Buddha’s teachings, a Buddhist monk is supposed to spend the rainy days in the verandah of some prostitute to go through the last examination and pass the final test of having conquered lust.
In Vedas, there is mention about God Varuna and Lord Indra. At places Lord Varuna replaces Lord Indra and at times both are considered synonyms. For both the gods are related to water. Chaliho (thr fortieth day) is the worship of Lord Indra or Lord Varuna or Water God.
Teejri (the third day) is the day of worship for the virgins as well as the married ladies. They fast on this day. In Sindh they used to sprout grains in earthen posts. The woman is after compared with the soil in which seed is sown and the produces the rich harvest. In shastras, only childbearing woman is known as “Nari” And a woman is considered fortunate, “Saubhagyavati” when her husband is healthy and she can bear him healthy progeny.
On the day of “Karva Chauth”(Bitter Fourth), the Punjabi women break their fast by looking at the Moon in their “Pooja Thali” (Dish for worship) where as the sindhi women offer “Argya” oblation and break their fast. Moon is the god of heart. The women are governed more by their heart, whereas the men are ruled primarily by their brain-intellect. The heart plays a very vital role in shaping the personality of a women. That is why she has a special affinity with the Moon.
The custom of Sindhi women sawing the seeds in earthen pots and worshipping with these sprouts is a proof that the Sindhis had imbibed the Aryan ideas of the woman being a fertile soil and man providing the seed. These ideas were preserved by them in their customs and festivals.
On the day of a Teejri (the third) the women used to put these earthen pots in the swing and worship them and then make syrup of the sprouts and drink it. The unmarried ones would wish for a good husband and the married ones would pray for the healthy, long life of their husbands.
On Teejri day the ladies used to apply Mehandi on their palms and soles of their feet. After the extreme heat of the summer, the rainy season bring fresh leaves of Mehandi. Mehandi bestows beauty to the hands and feet of the women as well as acts as a cooling agent.
Thadri(cold play): According to Vedic philosophy of the Aryans this world is a joint creation of Purusha and Prakriti. Prakriti is Adya Shakti and has two forms-Para and Apara. That Shakti is known as Maya, Devi, Kali, Durga, Shakti, Divine Mother, Bhavani, Jagdamba and the sweetest form of goddess is the mother. In Sindh, there is a beautiful image of the mother at a place of pilgrimage called Hinglaj, whom Shah Abdul Latif has lovingly mentioned as “Nani” (maternal grand mother) in his poems.
On Thadri, we worship this forms of the goddess as the mother. There is another story also. Lord Krishna was born on Janamashtmi. But Yogamaya was born before Lord Krishna. On getting the news of her birth, King Kasma caught hold of her by the feet and wanted to kill her by smashing her head on the stone sill, but she slipped away from his hands and flew away. We, Sindhis, remember that magical form of the mother by playing cards on Thadri. All of us play cards, even those who do not touch cards. It is with the money that one gets as pocket money from the (maternal) grand parents. All try their hands at a game of cards just to observe the spirit of the special day.
Punjabis play cards on the Diwali day; others play on Holi, but we, Sindhis, used to play cards on Thadri only. (I am using past tense, because now many of our customs and traditions have changed.) Long, long back some Punjabis used to celebrate “Thadri” and eat sweet Mathris (friend stuff.)
In reality, the original spirit of Hindu culture is solidified in the form of festivals preserved by Punjabis and Sindhis. The game of cards-of whatever type it may be-consists of victory and defeat. Life is also a game, in which one has to maintain self-confidence, whether one wins or loses. One has to keep up courage and the fighting spirit.
Diwali (Diyari): During monsoon, house collapse, walls break down, ceilings leak, doors and windows become dirty and verandah, compounds become full with mud and slime. For doing the cleaning of the houses, a day has been fixed in the form of festival. As the Northern wind starts blowing we change our diet. Before we eat khichni (Rice and dal mixed) at night and Mani (Chapati) at noon. With the on set of winter we begin to take rice at lunch and wheat preparation at dinner.
Lord Ramchandra chose this day to come back to Ayodhya. The citizens of Ayodhya were delighted. They cleaned their houses and compounds, decorated their homes with garland of flowers and lighted lines of earthen lamps. From that day Diyari has come to be remembered as “Deepavali”, meaning lines of earthen lamps.
Diyari is the festival of the Vaishya Jati (Business community). Sindhis have been doing business since centuries and they cross the ocean to go to foreign lands. On Diyari day, they come back home and worship Goddess Lakshmi. Among the Sindhi Shikarpuris, the sisters worship their brothers son the day next to Diyari. The husbands of the business ladies, come home after a long absence, so the women folk light earthen lamps, filled with ghee, and adorn themselves with jewellery and new dresses. For Sindhis, specially business community this festival is only important. Even though, now-a-days the wives stay together with their men folk in foreign centuries, still Diyari is a very significant day for the Sindhis.
In India, the other communities start burning crackers from Diwali, but we Sindhis begin to burst crackers from day of Dussehra.
Uttran The great warrior of Mahabharat, Bhishma Pitamah had the boon to die at will. In the battlefield laying on the bed arrows he preferred to wait for Uttran to Uttarayan to come. The whole atmosphere gets clarified, so there is a custom of flying Kites on this day. Due to biting cold of winter, the people are forced to remain inside the four walks of their houses. Coming out of the house and breathing fresh air, looking at distant horizon, the eyes gain better vision. That is why kites are flown. It is an auspicious day as Bhishma Pitamah had chosen to leave his body on this day, though I am not aware of its significance.
Taken from the Sindhi writeup by Popati R. Hiranandani, translated by Pushpa H. Advani.