Pitru paksha is a 16 days period of Shraddha (sraddh) from Bhadrapada purnima to Sarva pitru amavasya. It is also known as Shraddha Paksha. In these period; Hindus pay homage to their ancestor, especially through food offerings. Pitru Paksha is considered by Hindus to be inauspicious, given the death rite performed during the ceremony, known as Shraddha or Tarpan. It is highly recommended that the observer should follow pritu paksha rules; and the rituals of shraddha should be performed in a proper manner.
If you are going to perform shraddha on Pitru paksha; then you should follow these pirtu paksha rules. Don’t do these activities on this period; otherwise your ancestors will not accept your offerings.
Follow these rules in Pitru Paksha – Dos and Don’ts
- According to the scriptures, do not do any auspicious work in pitru paksha days.
- Do not buy any vehicle or new items during this time.
- Also, do not consume non-vegetarian food at all.
- The person performing Shraddha rituals should not cut his nails. He should not have a shave or haircut.
- Don’t chew tobacco, smoke cigarette or consume alcohol. Don’t indulge in such bad practices. It hampers fruitful result of performing Shraddha karma.
- If possible, don’t wear slippers in the house for all 16 days.
- It is believed that Pitru comes in your home in any form in the fortnight of Pitru Paksha. Therefore, in this fortnight, no creature should be disrespected. Rather, any creature coming to your door should be given food and be hospitable.
- The person performing the Shraddha in the Pitru Paksha should strictly observe Brahmacharya.
- In Pitru Paksha, it is considered forbidden to eat some things, like- gram, lentils, cumin, black salt, gourd and cucumber, mustard greens etc. should not be eaten.
- Don’t use iron vessels for rituals. Instead use gold, silver, copper or bronze vessels to please your ancestors.
- If Shraddha Karma is done at a particular place then it gives special fruits. In these places Gaya, Prayag, Badrinath; the ancestors get salvation.
- Those who cannot perform Shraddha Karma on these holy pilgrimages for any reason can donate tarpan and bodies to any holy place in their home courtyard.
- But for the tarpan and pind daan, use your plot only. The ancestors do not get the donation given at the door of another or at the door of another person. Black sesame has special significance for the donation of ancestral body.
- Therefore, black mole should be used for Shraddha Karma. For this, do not forget to use white sesame.
- Shradh Karma shouldn’t be performed during evening, night, dawn or dusk.
- In Pitru Paksh, cows, brahmins, dogs, ants, cats and ravens should eat as much as possible. And all of these should not be recognized as loss.
Things to Remember on Pirtu Paksha
You should know: Pitru paksha puja vidhi
Which day to perform Shraddha?
The shraddha is performed on the specific lunar day during the Pitru Paksha, when the ancestor usually a parent or paternal grandparent died. There are exceptions to the lunar day rule; special days are allotted for people who died in a particular manner or had a certain status in life.
Importance of Sarvapitri amavasya
Sarva pitru amavasya is the most important day of the Pitru Paksha. It is intended for all ancestors, irrespective of the lunar day they died. Those who have forgotten to perform shraddha can do so on this day. A shraddha ritual performed on this amavasya is considered as fruitful as one conducted in the holy city of Gaya, which is seen as a special place to perform the rite.
You should know: Why Hindus Perform Pind Daan At Gaya
Who should perform Shraddha?
It is essential that Shraddha be performed by the son usually the eldest or male relative of the paternal branch of the family, limited to the preceding three generations. However, on Sarva pitru amavasya or matamaha, the daughter’s son can offer Shraddha for the maternal side of his family if a male heir is absent in his mother’s family.
Pitru Paksha Food
The food offerings made to the ancestors are usually cooked in silver or copper vessels and typically placed on a banana leaf or cups made of dried leaves. The food must include Kheer (a type of sweet rice and milk), lapsior other beans (a sweet porridge made of wheat grains), rice, dal (lentils), the vegetable of spring bean (guar) and a yellow gourd (pumpkin).
You may like: Why Crows are given food During Pitru Paksha
Pind Daan – Rites of Shraddha
The male who performs the shraddha should take a purifying bath beforehand and is expected to wear a dhoti. He wears a ring of darbha grass. Then the ancestors are invoked to reside in the ring. The shraddha is usually performed bare-chested, as the position of the sacred thread worn by him needs to be changed multiple times during the ceremony.
The shraddha involves pind daan, which is an offering to the ancestors of pind (cooked rice and barley flour balls mixed with ghee and black sesame seeds), accompanying the release of water from the hand. It is followed by the worship of Vishnu (in form of the darbha grass, a gold image, or Shaligram stone and Yama. The food offering is then made, cooked especially for the ceremony on the roof. The offering is considered to be accepted if a crow arrives and devours the food; the bird is believed to be a messenger from Yama or the spirit of the ancestors. A cow and a dog are also fed, and Brahmin priests are also offered food. Once the ancestors (crow) and Brahmins have eaten, the family members can begin lunch.