Shradh 2018 or Pitru Paksha started on 24th September and is going to end on 9th October, 2018. The last day of Shradh or Pitru Paksha is tomorrow, or Tuesday. The end date or the last day of Shradh will be marked by Hindus all over the world, by preparing food that is fed to priests and pandits and charitable work. Known as the mourning period amongst Hindus across the country, the 15-day lunar period takes place during the Bhadrapada month of the Hindu calendar. During these days, people pay homage to their ancestors or Pitras, especially through prayers and food offerings. Shradh is also known as Kanagat, and falls during the second paksha of the Hindu Lunar month of Bhadrapada and the fortnight immediately after Ganesh Visarjan, as per the Southern and Western India. It is a ritual carried out to gratify one's ancestors. It is believed that the Shradh rites liberate souls from the vicious circle of life and death and further help them attain salvation. It is also said that Shradh involves the current generation repaying the debts of their ancestors and deceased loved ones by paying an ode to them. During the period of Shradh, Hindus generally observe an all-vegetarian diet. They offer food to a group of Brahmins after the Pitri Puja. They are also offer a 'Mahadaan' which includes a pair of new clothes, fruits, sweets and dakshina, for it is believed that whatever is given to the priests reaches the ancestors. Food or prasad is also served to the poor and needy people. It is also recommended to keep a small portion of the prepared meal for cows, dogs, crows, and ants, separately.
Shradh 2018 Dates: Pitru Paksha Calendar
Pitru paksha or Shradh 2018 is a 16-lunar day period, where Hindus remember their ancestors during that period. This usually falls in the fortnight immediately after the Ganesha festival,which is in the second fortnight of the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada.
Shradh 2018 will commence on 24th September, 2018 and end on 8th October, 2018. Here are the details of the 15-day period.
- 24th September, 2018- Purnima Shradh
- 25th September, 2018- Pratipada Shradh
- 26th September, 2018- Dwitiya Shradh
- 27th September, 2018- Tritiya Shradh
- 28th September, 2018- Maha Bharani, Chaturthi Shradh
- 29th September, 2018- Panchami Shradh
- 30th September, 2018- Shashthi Shradh
- 1st October, 2018- Saptami Shradh
- 2nd October, 2018- Ashtami Shradh
- 3rd October, 2018- Navami Shradh
- 4th October, 2018- Dashami Shradh
- 5th October, 2018- Ekadashi Shradh
- 6th October, 2018- Magha Shradh, Dwadashi Shradh
- 7th October, 2018-Trayodashi Shradh, Chaturdashi Shradh
- 8th October, 2018- Sarva Pitru Amavasya
Shradh 2018 Or Pitru Paksha Significance And Why Food Is Offered To The Ancestors
As per Hinduism, the souls of ancestors reside in Pitra-lok, a realm between heaven and earth, which is governed by the god of death, Yama. It is said that when the person from the next generation expires, the first generation is shifted to heaven and unites with the almighty. Only the last three generations in Pitra-lok are given shradh rites.
The legend has it, during the Mahabharata war, when Karna, the legendary donor died, his soul was taken to heaven, where he was offered gold and jewels as food. However, knowing he couldn't eat gold and jewellery and needed real food, he asked the lord of heaven, Indra, as to why he is being served gold instead of food. Indra replied that Karna donated gold all his life, but never donated food to his ancestors in Shradh. Karna said that he didn't know about his ancestors, which is why he didn't donate food in their memory. In order to make amends, Karna was then permitted to return to earth for 15-days, so that he could perform Shradh and donate water and food in their memory. This period was then known as Pitru-Paksha.
(Also Read: Why is Non Vegetarian Food Avoided During Shradh)
Shradh 2018: Pooja Rituals
It is said that offering food and clothes make the souls of our ancestors happy. The Shradh rites are generally performed by the male member or eldest son in the family. While performing the rites, nothing 'ashubh' should come in between till the prayers are observed for the peace of the departed souls. Brahmins are offered food, new clothes, fruits, sweets and dakshina, as it is believed that whatever is given to them reaches their ancestors. After making offerings to the Brahmins, people feed the poor, as the more 'daan' you give, the more it will reach your ancestors. Performing Shradh rites and accomplishing Pitru Paksha puja are important for the well-being of the family. The puja also helps people receive blessings from the ancestors.
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