- Hindus across India will be observing Pitru Paksha from 5th September
- It is a 15-lunar day period, as per the Hindu calendar
- This period is also known as Shradh and Kanagat
What is Shradh and its Significance?
According to Hindu beliefs, the souls of our three preceding generations reside in Pitru-Loka, which is considered to be a realm between heaven and earth. This realm is led by the god of death, Yama. It is believed that when a person from the next generation dies, the first generation is taken to heaven bringing them closer to God. Only the last three generations in Pitru-Loka are given shradha rites.
According to Hindu scriptures, during the Mahabharata, when Karna died his soul was taken to heaven where he was offered lots of gold and jewels. However, Karna was looking for food to eat and asked Indra, who is considered as the lord of heaven, the reason for serving gold as food. That's when Indra told Karna that he donated gold all his life, but never donated food to his ancestors during Shradh. Realising what Indra claimed, Karna answered that he never knew who his ancestors were, so he couldn't donate anything in their memory. However, Karna was given a chance to amend his mistake and was permitted to return to earth for 15 days, so that he could perform shradh rites and donate food and water in their memory. This 15-day period was then named as Pitru Paksha.
Shradh 2017 Dates: Pitru Paksha Calendar
Shradh 2017 will commence on 5th September and end on 19th September, 2017. Here is the Pitru Paksha calendar that you can follow through the days-
- 05th September - Purnima Shraddha
- 06th September - Pratipada Shraddha
- 07th September - Dwitiya Shraddha
- 08th September - Tritiya Shraddha
- 09th September - Chaturthi Shraddha
- 10th September - Maha Bharani, Panchami Shraddha
- 11th September - Shashthi Shraddha
- 12th September - Saptami Shraddha
- 13th September - Ashtami Shraddha
- 14th September - Navami Shraddha
- 15th September - Dashami Shraddha
- 16th September - Ekadashi Shraddha
- 17th September - Dwadashi Shraddha, Trayodashi Shraddha
- 18th September - Magha Shraddha, Chaturdashi Shraddha
- 19th September - Sarva Pitru Amavasya
Shradhha 2017: Pooja Rituals
The rituals of the shradh are generally performed by the eldest son or the eldest male member of the family. While performing shradh one should be careful about three things that include- piety, hastiness and anger. Nothing 'ashubh' should come in between the prayers observed for the peace of the departed souls. Two Brahmins are offered food, new clothes, fruits, sweets and dakshina, for it is believed that whatever is given to them reaches the ancestors. It is also imperative to feed the poor after making an offering to the Brahmins. It is believed that the more 'daan' you give, the more it will reach your ancestors. It is also believed that shradh rites and Pitru Paksha puja are important for attaining happiness in the family and for receiving blessings from the ancestors.