In a deeply rooted tradition dating back centuries, Hindus across the India are preparing to observe Pitru Paksha, a 16-day period dedicated to paying homage to their ancestors, known as Pitrs. This sacred practice involves offering prayers, food, and water to honor departed family members and ensure the peaceful journey of their souls.
Pitru Paksha, also known as Pitri Paksha/Pitr-Paksha, Pitri Pokkho, Sorah Shraddha (“sixteen shraddhas”), Kanagat, Jitiya, Mahalaya (in Bengali), Apara Paksha, Akhadpak, Pitru Pandharavda, or Pitru Paksh (in Marathi), is regarded as a time of reflection and spiritual significance.
It is believed to have its origins in the Rig Veda, one of the oldest Hindu scriptures, and has evolved into a deeply meaningful ritual observed by millions.
This observance takes place during the second paksha (fortnight) of the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada, typically falling in the month of September. Pitru Paksha begins on the Pratipada (first day of the fortnight) and culminates with the no moon day known as Sarvapitri Amavasya, Pitri Amavasya, Peddala Amavasya, or Mahalaya Amavasya.
In the year 2023, Pitru Paksha will span from September 29th (Friday) to October 14th.
Pitru Paksha 2023: Rituals
- The eldest son of the family wakes up early in the morning and takes a holy bath.
Wear clean clothes to perform puja.
- Put the ancestor’s picture on a wooden table in the south direction.
- Put black sesame seeds and barley seeds.
- Pind is prepared from rice balls made up of ghee, honey, rice, goat’s milk, sugar, and barley.
- The Pind is then followed by Tarpan where water is mixed with the flour, barley, kush, and black sesame.
- Pind and tarpan are provided for the needy and poor people.
During Pitru Paksha, individuals participate in the performance of Shradh, a ritual that holds the belief of mitigating the suffering of departed souls, ensuring their smooth transition into the afterlife or the cycle of rebirth. This practice is especially significant when performed by a son, symbolizing a gesture of love and respect for one’s ancestors.
It’s worth noting that Pitru Paksha is considered inauspicious, primarily due to the death rites associated with the ceremony, known as Shraddha or Tarpana. As a result, this period is marked by solemnity and reflection. It is a time when festivities are discouraged, and the purchase of new items is avoided as a sign of respect for the departed.
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