What is Pitru paksha tradition in India?

Pitru paksha is a fifteen-day period in which all Hindus pays respect and gratitude towards their ancestors. It is a Vedic tradition of India. It begins with the Full Moon after Ganesh Chaturthi and ends on the New Moon. Hindus consider as a powerful time to express honor to the spiritual power of ancestors around them.


What is the story behind the Pitru Paksha tradition?

When the legendary Karna died in the Mahabharata war, his soul transcended to heaven, he was offered gold as food. But, Karna needed real food to eat. He asked the Lord of Heaven called Indra, for serving gold as food.

Indra said to Karna that he donated gold, but had never donated food to his ancestors in life. Karna said that since he was unaware of his ancestors, he never thought of it. 

Karna was sent to Earth for 15 days so that he could perform Shradh.  This period is now known as Pitru Paksha to offer gratitude towards our ancestors.

What are the rituals of Pitru paksha?

During these days” Shradh” is performed according to rituals. The first part is Pindadan. Pinda is made up of rice balls that are usually made from milk, ghee, sugar, and rice flour. The second part is the offering of water with kusha grass and black sesame.

The last part is to offer food on the roof for crow before 12 PM. The Crow is believed as the spirit of the ancestors. A cow and a dog are also fed, and then food is offered to Brahmin.

Once the crow and Brahmin’s have eaten, the family members can have food offerings. However, there are some things which should be avoided like eating non-vegetarian food, shaving, haircuts, eating onion, garlic food.

The food offerings are placed on a banana leaf. The food must include kheer, rice, dal, the vegetable of spring bean, and a yellow gourd.

On which day rituals should be performed?

It is important to remember the date of the death of the paternal family member. Who died due to an accident or suicide then rituals can be done on the date of Chaturdashi.

For Father’s ritual, the day is Ashtami. For Mother’s ritual suitable day is Navami. Sarvapitri Amavasya is dedicated to all our ancestors. This is an important day for Pitru Paksha. Those who have forgotten to perform rituals can do so on this day.

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Pitru Paksha is marked by rituals, and charity to the poor. It is believed that those who don’t find peace in death their soul wanders around their family members on Earth. In Pitru Paksha paying homage to the departed soul helps them attain Moksha and peace for their soul.

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