Pitru Paksha or Mahalaya Paksha is a powerful fortnight of the lunar year to perform ancestral rituals for your ancestors. The period from the Pratipada tithi of Krishna Paksha of Ashwin masa till the no moon day- Amavasya is called Pitru Paksha. Pitru Paksha is a sanskrit word that translates to "fortnight of the ancestors". This period is observed all across India and in various other cultures like Buddhism and Taoism. It is also called Pitri Paksha, Pitr-Paksha, Sorah Shraddha ("sixteen shraddhas"), Kanagat, Jitiya, Pitri Pokkho, and Apara Paksha.
Fri , 29th Sep 2023
Every year during the Mahalaya phase, millions of Pitrus- ancestors souls descend on the Earth plane from the Pitruloka to receive Tarpanam offerings and other ancestral rituals. This is the only time that they are allowed on bhooloka to relish the offerings that their family makes to them on this day. All the ancestral ceremonies are designed in a certain way that the pitrus can absorb and assimilate I their system, including the slokas of the tarpanam, offerings like Pind dhan made of rice and sesame, & other donations. They bestow their best blessings on the whole lineage after accepting these offerings.
These blessings are so powerful and are the ideal solutions to many karmic problems we might face due to our ancestors. Their blessings can dissolve stubborn karmic challenges also change the destiny of a person. This fortnight window is a once in a year opportunity to seek help from our ancestors to clear bad karma affecting all arenas of our life like physical &mental health, material wealth, career, and family relationships. Our offerings enable the ancestors to move to higher realms and heaven.
This is also a phase to ask for forgiveness from our ancestors, their blessings and forgiveness can translate into lifetime blessings. Many puranas like Markandeya Purana, Brahma Purana, Bhagavata purana & Garuda purana insist on the importance of Pitru Paksha on ultimate purpose of heaven and salvation (moksha) upon both ancestors and the performer. The puranas also preach that the male heir of the family should propitiate ancestors (Pitris), along with the gods (devas), elements (bhutas). It is also said that ancestor blessings are as powerful as Clan deity’s, both these blessings can change the genetic nature of an individual, thus change one’s destiny.
Shradh rituals on Pitru Paksha can also compensate a forgotten or neglected annual Shraddha and Amavasya Tarpanam ceremonies.The Shradh rituals are central to the concept of lineages or genetic generations. These rituals involve oblations to three or seven preceding generations and lineage ancestor -gotra.
Pitru Paksha days and their relevance towards specific tarpanam rituals,
Pratima/ Pratipada – ideal for tarpanam rituals for people died with unfulfilled wishes and due to low self esteem.
Dwitiya – ancestral rituals for physically challenged and suffered from depression
Tritiya - Married against their family’s wishes and suffered trauma before death.
Chaturthi - Who were unable to serve their own mother and separated from their children and loving pets.
Panchami - Killed and consumed birds and animals
Shasthi - Tarpanam for Gurus and mentors who led us in the right path
Saptami- Selfless friends who offered unconditional love and generous help.
Ashtami - Ancestors who might have performed unethical acts or lived an unrighteous life
Navami- Tarpanam for Sumangali women of the family.
Dasami - Family members who died as infants or in young age.
Ekadashi - Tarpanam to pay gratitude for ancestors who created wealth and fame in our life.
Dwadashi - Who suffered the pain of betrayal and disappointment due to inheritance
Trayodasi - Tarpanam rituals for anestors who suffered terminal stage diseases and in curable sickness.
Chaturdasi - War soldiers and ancestral family members who were cremated outside their home country/hometown. We can also perform tarpanam for beloved pets on this day.
Mahalaya Amavasya - Tarpanam ritual for all deceased family ancestors, Stillborn babies and unknown souls of the family.
Devotees begin the day with a holy dip in a sacred river or at home with few sesame seeds dropped in the bathing water makes it holy. Worship altar is cleaned and organised for pooja. People visit the water bodies of the temple or lakes for performing Shradh rituals. People prefer Rameshwaram or other powerful Lord Shiva temples for the rituals. Freshly prepared food is offered in the form of Pind Daan (rice balls with sesame seeds). People fast the whole day or break their fast after sunset with a simple sattvic meal. Avoid consuming non-vegetarian food and use of onion or garlic in cooking. Some people observe a whole day or partial fasting for their ancestors and break their fast by the end of the day. Feeding crows on pitru paksha days is considered auspicious, as it is believed that the ancestors descend to the earth plane in the form of crows to accept our offerings. People also make charities to the poor and needy.
Important Timings On Pitrupaksha
September 29, 2023 6:21 AM
September 29, 2023 6:13 PM
September 29, 1:28 PM - September 29, 3:50 PM
September 29, 11:53 AM - September 29, 12:41 PM
September 29, 12:41 PM - September 29, 1:28 PM
Pitrupaksha festival dates between 2020 & 2030
Wednesday, 2nd of September
Tuesday, 21st of September
Saturday, 10th of September
Friday, 29th of September
Wednesday, 18th of September
Monday, 8th of September
Sunday, 27th of September
Thursday, 16th of September
Monday, 4th of September
Sunday, 23rd of September
Thursday, 12th of September