Just as there are innumerable gods and goddess of Hindus, so are their religious days, which are in fact more than the number of days in year. How and why they are started, if one were to write fables, folklore and stories, about them, it would become a big book. In fact there stories are given in the various Shatras. Most important of these are given below, many of are still being observed by Sindhis in India.
1. Cheti Chand
This is to celebrate the birth of Water god (Varun Devta) Sai Uderolal, popularly known as Jhulelal. So much has been said and written about it that it would be superfluous to repeat the event. In Sindh the beginning of the new year was considered Cheti Chand. Some businessmen opened new account books; many however, did that on the eve of Diwali. 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 mand flour. If there was no river or 'Darya', the ritual was performed at a well. Even Sikhs went toi temples or Gurdwara, because Guru Nanak's birthday also took place on Purnima.
2. Sagra (Sacred thread)
Sindhi Bhaibands generally lived in foreign countries; therefore, their wives were always worried about the good health of their husbands. For this purpose they performed pooja and go on the fast on four Mondays of Sharwan month. After which they perform pooja, distribute sweet rice and then get the sacred thread tied by the priests (Banbhan). Here in India, the priests have made a show business which costs nearly 500-800 rupees, a gimmick to knock out money.
3. Mahalakshmi's Sacred Thread
This sacred thread had sixteen strips and sixteen 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.
In Sindh, 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.
This takes place in the month of Shrawan when married women and girls painted their handsand feet mwith Mehndi, go on fast for the whole day, during which they used to play games, swing in Jhulas and sing lovable songs. In the night after making an offering to the moon, they used to break the fast.
6. Akhan Teej
On this day, in the moonlight, new water earthern pots 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 nookand corner, the sharbat, with pieces of apple in it, was offered to passerbys alongwith 'prasad'. On this day, it was also customary to send new earthern pots and fruits to priests and Gurdwara.
During the month of Sharwan, on the Baaras of Krishna Paksha. Cereals were changed in food, i.e. instead of wheat and rice, the chapatis made of gram flour (Besan) were eaten.
8. Ban Badhri
In 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 were invited by their parents for food.
9. Somavati Umaas
In 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 these takes place in the month of Shrawan. 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. On that day drops of water also sprinlkled on the cooking fire to appease Sitladevi Mata.
11. Janamashtami, Ram Navmi and Shivratri
Since Lord Krishna was born after midnight, on Janamashtami, bhajans and kirtan were held in temples till midnight. On Ram Navmi, Lord Rama's birthday was celebrated. On Shivratri people used to drink 'Thaadhal' with some 'bhang' in it, after making offering of it in the Mahadev temple. In the villages and cities big pots of 'Taahri' (sweet rice) were prepared and distributed among all.
On this day parents send ladoos & chiki (Laaee) made of Tils to their daughters. On the Makar Sankrant day the sun move from south to north. It is therefore also called 'Dutraan' or 'Tirmoori'. In Mahabharat battle Bhisham Pitamah did not breath his last till 'Datraan' since on this day there happens flush of light in Dev Lok.
A few days before Dassera there used to be Ramlila programme which was attended by throngs of people. On the Dassera day the colourful effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath were burnt.
Two days before Diwali people started lightling Diyaas (earthern lamps) from 'Dhan Teras'. The bazars used to be full with prospective consumers. Friends and relatives used to meet one another with affection and extended pleasantries and sweetmeats. In the night, Laxmi Poojan took ;place when all the members of the family prayed with reverence and reslpect. In the night, people used to take their in 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
On this day people used to be engaed in giving charity. The whole bazar would be full with hundreds of beggars and the needy, who would spread a cloth before them, on which people, according to their mite, kept on throwing 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.
During these days devotees mof Devi ate once in a day and did not even shave and hair cut. Ladies sang bhajans. In Nagarparkar they used to dance like Garba in Gujrat.
On the day of Lal Loee children used to bringg 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. Some ladies whose wishes were fulfilled offered coconuts in the fire and distributed prasad 'Sesa'; this continued till midnight.
17. Nariyal Purnima
During the Purnima of Shrawan month sisters tied Rakhi to their brothers. This day is called as "Rakhree Bandhan'. Even the near cousins used to binds Rakhis. 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 travelling in ships and boats should have a safe and a sound journey.
Like in India the month of September 'Bado' was meant for Krishna Paksha as Pitar Pakhiya. If 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 Dakhshina. It is said that Arya Samaj carried out a strong movement against Shraadh, but the .Shraadhs continued because of the faith of people since they felt that through this method the deceased members of the family are remembered and all the family members have a good gathering.
In those days whenever the snake charmer brought snames, they were given some Dakhshina and also milk for the sanmes. Nagpanchami is also called Gogro. It is a folklore from Kutch and Gujarat.
In Thatta, near Pir Pitho, there was a kingdom of king Gopichand. Once his daughter Vachhalbai saw a flower flowing in the river. She obtained the flower with the help of her friend. A saintly person's soul lived in that flower. As Vachhalbai smelled the flower, the soul entered the stomach. After a few months king came to know about pregnancy of his daughter and was also told about smelling of the flower. But he knew no one would believe the story. He therefore, ask four of his soldiers to take Vachhalbai in a chariot and leave her in a deserted Jungle, where due to the snake bite one ox fell down of the chariot. The soldiers could not run the chariot with one ox. At theat time, a voice came from stomach of Vachhalbai, "Mother chant this mantra and sprinkle water on the dead ox." Vachhalbai and the soldiers were surprised but they did what they were told, and the ox recovered immediately. The soldiers saluted Vachhaalbai with respect and left her in the deserted place.
Over a period of time Vachhalbai gave birth to a child who was called 'Gogro'. When it cried in hunger, all the snakes used to collect there to feed him turn with their poison. This poison gave strength to the child, who with his power dug up a ditch and produce a spring of water.'Gogro' used to play with snakes and drunk their poison.
One day a Rajput king's caravan came to pass from there. He was dying out of thirst. Gogro gave him water on the condition that he must leave seven boys to live in the jungle. In order to save his life king Chawan left seven boys there.
How to feed the seven boys, became a problem for Gogro. Ultimately not finding anu other way he started taking more poison from the snakes. This created a discontenment among the snakes and a small snake 'Han Khanu' was determined to kill Gogro; but it had a very little poison. The great snake Python 'Ajgar' gave poison to him. The Cobra said that it is a sin to kill our master. And he said that if Han Khanu killed the Gogro, he would devour the han Khanu. Since that time the biggest of snakes - Python has no poison and the cobra wherever it sees Han Khanu devours it.
Gogro had such a power that if he turned his eyes to the place where a snake bit, the whole poison evaporated. That is why the Han Khanu bit Gogro on his jaw where Gogro could not see the place. While dying Gogro said to his friends "When I die you cook me and eat me up." His friends cut him in two pieces, cooked him but did not feel like eating. So they threw the full pot in the river. Some theives got hold of this pot. since they were hungry, they ate all the pieces. As they realised soul went to their stomach they also become realised souls and their third eye opened up, through which they could see the future. These theives were called 'Mamooyoon Fakirs'. Many references are made to this by Dr.Gurbaxani in his poems.
Mahatam Gogro before he died, told all his friends not to bite the people without a reason and also told the people to consider snakes as their friends.
Nagpanchami therefore, is celebrated in the honour of the god of snakes.... Gogro.
This is a 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 son of Bhagat Prahlad. But this is the different story.