As the celebrations have ended and the goodbyes have been said to Ganesha, the yearly affair of remembering foregone ancestors have started. Pitru Paksha, also known as ‘Shraadh’ is a 16-day-long period dedicated to the souls of deceased ancestors. The 2019 Pitru Paksha starts from today, the 13th of September and will last until the 28th of September.
During this period, it is believed that the souls of deceased ancestors travel back to earth. Practising Hindus perform rituals such as tarpan for calming their souls and offer food to satisfy their thirst and hunger.
‘Sarvapitri Amavasya’ is dedicated to performing the rituals for all deceased ancestors. Families that might have missed the day for any reason can pay their homage on this day. ‘Ghata Chaturdashi’, the fourteenth day of the lunar period is for the ancestors who suffered a tragic or violent death. Two days of the Pitru Paksha, ‘Chautha Bharani and Bharani Panchami’, are reserved for the relatives and members of the family that passed away in the last year itself.
Most families prefer to perform the rituals on the banks of river Ganga. Therefore, many families set out on a pilgrimage journey to Varanasi and river Ganga during the Pitru paksha.
The Pitru Paksha is a sacred period in the Hindu calendar. Many Hindus give up on non-vegetarian food and refrain from drinking alcohol during Shraadh. It is also prohibited to start new endeavours, buy new clothes, gold, car or anything that denotes a new beginning.
Any person observing Shraadh is to keep away from ill-thoughts and partake in all the rituals with a clean heart and mind. The souls visiting Earth are believed to visit the Earth in any leaving form, therefore, all living beings are to be treated with love and respect irrespective of all distinguishers.