Every year, a duration of 15-16 days marks the inhabitation of our ancestors in the earth. This day is known as Pitru Paksha when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors, especially through food offerings. This is the time when ancestors come for a certain period of time to reside at their earlier places and give blessings to us if satisfied.
Pitru Paksha timing
According to South Indian Amavasyant calendar, it falls in the lunar month of Bhadrapada beginning with the full moon day or day after full moon day.
According to North Indian Purnimant calendar, this period falls in the lunar month of Ashwin beginning with the full moon day in Bhadrapada or next day of full moon day.
Purnima Shradh – September 5 (Tuesday)
Pratipada Shradh – September 6 (Wednesday)
Dwitiya Shradh – September 7 (Thursday)
Tritiya Shradh/Chaturthi Shradh – September 8 (Friday)
Panchami Shradh – September 9 (Saturday)
Shashthi Shradh – September 10 (Sunday)
Saptami Shradh – September 11 (Monday)
Ashtami Shradh – September 12 (Tuesday)
Navami Shradh – September 13 (Wednesday)
Dashami Shradh – September 14 (Thursday)
Ekadashi Shradh – September 15 (Friday)
Dwadashi Shradh – September 16 (Saturday)
Trayodashi Shradh – September 17 (Sunday)
Chaturdashi Shradh – September 18 (Monday)
Sarva Pitru Amavasya Shradh – September 19 (Tuesday)
Mahalaya Amavasya – Is the most important day of Shradh. You can perform Shradh anytime in the day. It is more famously known as Sarva Pitru Shraddh. This year the Mahalaya Amavasya will fall on September 19; time to perform Shradh will be between 1:13 PM to 3:35 PM.
These details are according to Astrosage and Hindupad.
Why Do We Need To Celebrate Pitru Paksha
The famous epic Mahabharata has very elaborately stated the importance of Pitra Paksha. The great warrior – Karna was one of the greatest legends and when he reached heaven after his death, he was offered food in the form of Gold, Silver, and Jewels. Shocked by this Karna asked Indra on why this was being done to him. In response, Indra told that throughout his life he had donated all such materialistic possessions in the name of his ancestors and had never offered food to anybody. (This tells us that after death we get what we provide to our ancestors.)
Luckily enough Karna had no idea on who his ancestors were as his identity was mysterious. Considering this to be in favor of Karna, Indra asked him to go back to earth, where he donated food and made Tarpan during the sixteen days.
Top places to celebrate Pitru Paksha
As per the Hindu mythology, there are some important places in India for performing the rituals of Shraadh for the departed souls to stay in peace and be happy.
- Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
- Prayaga (Allahabad), Uttar Pradesh
- Gaya, Bihar
- Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
- Badrinath, Uttarakhand
- Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
- Nasik, Maharashtra
- Kapal mochan Seshambadi, Yamuna Nagar, Haryana
Do’s and Dont’s Of Pitrupaksha
- Auspicious events and new initiations are highly not recommended during this period.
- Make sure to feed the ancestors in banana leaf
- Using silver, copper, gold and bronze utensils have their own significance.
- It is believed that during the period of Pitru Paksha, our ancestors visit us and make us aware of their presence in some form or the other. Therefore, one should never disrespect, hurl away or hurt any animal, bird or insect that comes around your house.
- Tulsi leaves are the purest thing you can offer them. They tend to remain satisfied by this offering.
- Gangajal, Milk, Honey, and sesame are must ingredients while performing the offering.
- Iron is said to release negative energies and hence should never be used.
- Anybody coming for help should not be turned away. You should always stay handy with food and water during these 16 days.
- The person performing Tarpan should avoid nonveg food and certain other ingredients like gram, Masur, cumin, black salt, bottle gourd, mustard, and cucumber.
- People should also be careful not to make ancestors angry.
- If somebody had no son, then any male among his brothers, nephews or uncles can offer Pind Daan.
- One should not forget to distribute clothes or grains. This will make souls of dead ancestors happy
- Shradh should be performed in later part of the afternoon. It should not be done in morning or in early part of the afternoon
- On the day of shradh, Onion or Garlic should not be used in any food items. It is said that those crops that are grown under the soil hence are not offered to dead ancestors, which include potatoes, brinjal, and radish.
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