Shradh or Pitru Paksha is a period when Hindus remember their ancestors by offering prayers. The 16-day period this year begins today and ends on September 17. 'Shradh' is a way of expressing heartfelt gratitude towards parents who are no more, for having helped them be what they are today. According to scriptures, rituals performed during 'shradh' bring peace to the departed.
'Pitru Paksha' is the period from 'Bhadrapada Purnima' to 'Sarvapitri Amavasya'. 'Pitru Paksha' is considered by Hindus to be inauspicious as the death rites are performed during 'Shradh' or 'Tarpan'. The last day of 'Pitru Paksha' is known as 'Sarvapitri Amavasya'. It is also known as 'Pitru Amavasya' or simply 'Mahalaya'. It is the most significant day of 'Pitru Paksha'.
Shradh 2020: Day and dates
1st September: Purnima Shradh
2nd September: Pratipada Shradh
3rd September: Dwitiya Shradh
5th September: Tritiya Shradh
6th September: Chaturthi Shradh
7th September: Panchami Shradh
8th September: Shashthi Shradh
9th September: Saptami Shradh
10th September: Ashtami Shradh
11th September: Navami Shradh
12th September: Dashami Shradh
13th September: Ekadashi Shradh
14th September: Dwadashi Shradh
15th September: Trayodashi Shradh
16th September: Chaturdashi Shradh
17th September: Amavasya Shradh
The person who performs the 'shradh' invites the priest at home and performs a 'havan'. Rice and water are offered to the ancestors and this is called the 'pinda pradaana'. Since cows are considered holy by Hindus, food is also offered to them. The priest who helps with the rituals is given specially cooked food and treated with great care. The 'puja' concludes with giving 'dakshina' or a monetary donation to the priest.