Every year Hindus across India observe the Shraadh or Pitru Paksha period that is observed for sixteen (16) days during the autumn months of September and October . Religious scriptures say that the Pitru Paksha period is observed to pay respects and homage to the ancestors. This period is also referred to as the ‘Mourning Period’.
Pitru Paksha begins on the last full moon day of the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapad. During these 16 days, Hindus perform pind puja, known as ‘Shraad’ for their ancestors.
The day of the Shraadh is usually decided by the Pandit or priest according to the date of the death anniversary of the ancestor for whom the Shraadh has to be performed. Pooja is conducted in the house; special satvik bhojan is prepared to honor the soul of the dead.
The bhojan or the prasad is then fed to animals like crows, dogs, and cats as it is said that ancestors usually visit their homes in the form of these animals.
How & When to perform Shraadh
Shraadh or Pitri puja is performed on the day the ancestors died and also on Chaturdashi, which is the 14th day. Our ancestors become happy about conducting Shraadh puja on these two days. The puja should be offered secretly or else it is not accepted by the ancestors.
- Use Cow Milk, Curd & Ghee
In this ritual, the milk, curd (yogurt) or ghee (clarified butter) should be of a cow only.
- Offer food in Silver utensils
The use of silver utensils is considered as auspicious, as it keeps away negativity. It gives a feeling of satisfaction to the ancestors when they are offered food in it. It is also good for donating to the pandit or Brahmin who performs this ritual.
- Always offer food with both your hands
While offering bhojan to the pandits hold the utensils & dishes with both your hands. It is believed that holding with one hand doesn’t reach the ancestors & is snatched away by evil forces.
- Brahmins should consume food in silence
It is believed that our ancestors (pitra) enjoy food through these Shraadh Brahmins only when they keep quiet and concentrate on eating without praising food quality.
- Never refuse water or food to anyone, even if it’s a stranger
Our ancestors generally visit our house during the Pitru Paksha period that is why in this period & otherwise as well never refuse water or food to anyone visiting your house.
- Don’t hurt animals such as cows, dogs, cats and crows
These animals are offered the Pitru prasad after the Shraadh and this is the reason why Hindus are asked never to hurt them during the shradh period.
- Consumption of meat and its products
Our scriptures say that meat & meat products shouldn’t be consumed during this period. Instead, Pure satvik food should be consumed.
- Don’t cut your nails or shave
Since this is a mourning period, grooming activities like cutting nails, shaving the beard or cutting hair should be strictly prohibited.
- Buying new clothes, jewelry, car & property is avoided
This is done in order to pay respect to the dead.
Shraadh Puja by Shubhpuja
We perform a Yagna and provide blessings from a brahmin to the family who is performing this ritual. After the puja food is offered as an offering as the means of compensation for any omissions made by us in keeping the ancestors happy.
We believe that every Hindu must observe this period with full devotion and respect so that our departed elders bless us.
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