The Sikh New Year coincides with the beginning of the Nanakshahi Sikh Calendar first introduced by Pal Singh Purewal in 1988. The months of the Nanakshahi calendar are named for the months which appear in the sacred writings of the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikh’s Holy Scripture. Sikhs celebrate their New Year on the 14th of March. It may sound strange and interesting, but that is what the Sikh calendar dictates! As in most other religions, the Sikh Calendar is one of the central aspects of the Sikh Religion. Also known as the Nanakshahi calendar, it is a solar calendar that determines the dates for the most important Sikh events. Interestingly, the Sikh calendar has only recently been adopted. For a long time, the Sikhs have used the Hindu calendar. Since 1998, all Sikh holidays as well as Sikh festivals have been observed based on the newly-created Nanakshahi Calendar. The epoch of the Sikh calendar is based on the birth year of first ever Sikh Guru, Nanak Dev (1469), such that 1998 is known as the Nanakshahi 530. In 1999, a slight modification of the Sikh calendar was made. Since then, it is based on the solar year and not the lunar cycle with its movable dates. When the solar calendar was adopted, dates when the festivals are celebrated are considered fixed.
Chet is a first month in the Nanakshahi Calendar. This month coincides with March – April of the Western/Georgian/Julian Calendar and is 31 days long. The month starts on March 14 and end on April 13. On April 14 starts the second month of the Sikh year called Vaisakh. During Chet the season in Punjab, the land of the Sikh Gurus is spring and the climate moderate with good sunshine during the day. Many tourists from western countries visit north India during Chet to join in the festivities of the New Year.