What is Pitra Paksha and How Shradh is Related to it in Hindu Beliefs
During this period, Hindus pay homage to their ancestors or Pitras. It is believed that during this time of the year, ancestors visit earth and bless their kin with prosperity.
Bhopal: Hindu devotees perform 'Tarpan', a ritual to pay obeisance to one's forefather during 'Pitra Paksha', on the banks of Upper Lake in Bhopal, Monday, Sept 24, 2018. (Image: PTI)
Pitra Paksha or Pitru Paksh is observed from Bhadrapada Poornima of the month of Ashwin and goes on for 16 days till Amavasya of the same month. This is in accordance to the North Indian Purnimant calendar. During this period, Hindus pay homage to their ancestors or Pitras.
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.
It is believed that during this time of the year, ancestors visit earth and bless their kin with prosperity. The kin offer food, money and other gifts to the Pitras as a sign of reverence.
This year, in 2019, Pitra Paksha is starting from September 13 and will end on September 28 with the Amavasya also known as Sarvapitri Amavasya or Mahalaya Amavasya.
Shradh is also an important part of Pitra Paksha. Shradh denotes all the offerings that are made by the kin to their ancestors in these sixteen days. According to the scriptures, it is believed that those who have died come to earth in their subtle form and accept the offering of their kin.
There is also a mythological significance to shradh. It is mentioned in the Harvansh Purana that Bhishma Pitamah had told the eldest Pandava Yudhishtar that the person doing the shradh attains happiness in both worlds. Pleased with the offerings of Shraddh, Pitra give blessings to everyone according to whatever they want. Those who wish for a baby are blessed with one, other who wish for happiness are blessed with the same in these days.
Although the right for Shradh is reserved for the son, however, if there are no sons, then grandson, great grandson or widowed wife can also perform Shradh. At the same time, the wife can perform Shradh if the son is not present at the same place.
Important days to observe Shradh in 2019:
September 13 - Purnima Shradh
September 14 - Pratipada
September 15 - Dwitiya
September 16 - Tritiya
September 17 - Chaturthi
September 18 - Panchami Maha Bharani
September 19 - Shashthi
September 20 - Saptami
September 21 - Ashtami
September 22 - November
September 23 - Dashami
September 24 - Ekadashi
September 25 - Dwadashi
September 26 - Trayodashi, Magha Shradh
September 27 - Chaturdashi Shradh
September 28 - Pitra immersion, Mahalaya Amavasya
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