What is Pitru Paksha?
Pitru Paksha is a ritual performed for the dead ancestors. It is a 16-days lunar period in the Hindu calendar when the Hindus pay homage to their ancestors. Pitru Paksha is also known as Pitru Pakshya, Pitri Pokkho, Sola Shraddha, Kanagat, Jitiya, Mahalaya Paksha and Apara Paksha. The word ‘Pitras’ mean ‘Ancestors’ and ‘Paksha’ means ‘A particular Time’. It is considered to be an inauspicious time. No good task is done during this period.
During the ceremony, the death rite that is performed is termed ‘Tarpan’ or ‘Shraddha’. It is believed that performing the Pitru Dosha blesses the entire family. It is performed only by the male members of the family.
Pitru Paksha is starting on 24th September 2018, Monday and is ending on 8th October 2018, Monday.
Why do we perform Pitru Paksha?
We perform PitruPaksha Puja because:
- It ensures that the ancestors go to heaven.
- It is believed that the live members of the family won’t be in peace if the ancestors are not resting in peace. The family will keep facing some or the other problems.
- Not performing the puja can make the women of the family not have children.
- It ensures that the ancestors rest in peace by clearing their sins.
What is the history of this ritual?
According to mythology, the reason for performing Pitru Paksha relates to King Karna the son of the Sun God from Mahabharata. King Karna, was always deeply involved in charity and could never say no to anybody. After his death in the Mahabharat war, when he went to heaven, he was offered food made of gold. He asked the Gods why such a great was offered a food this way even after doing so much charity. He was told that this was because he only offered gold as charity and not food. King Karna neither offered food and water to his ancestors nor the poor people. Realizing his mistake, King Karna wanted to correct it. The Gods thus decided to let Karna return to Earth for 15 days to feed the poor. This helped him to get rid of the problem. This period is called Pitru Paksha.
Who can perform this ritual?
The son of the dead ancestor performs the Pitru Paksha. If the person has no son any other male member can perform the Puja. In cases where a person has more than one son, the eldest son performs the Puja.
Where do we perform Pitru Karma?
One can perform the Puja in a lake beside their house. They can also perform this Puja at the banks of a river. One can also visit Gaya or Varanasi to perform the Puja.
Pitru Paksha 2018 Dates
24th September 2018 (Monday) is when Pitru Paksha starts in 2018. It is ending on 8th October 2018 (Monday).
The dates are:
- 24th September: Purnima Shraddha
- 25th September: Pratipada Shraddha
- 26th September: Dwitiya Shraddha
- 27th September: Tritiya Shraddha
- 28th September: Chaturthi Shraddha, Maha Bharani
- 29th September: Panchami Shraddha
- 30th September: Shashthi Shraddha
- 1st October: Saptami Shraddha
- 2nd October: Ashtami Shraddha
- 3rd October: Navami Shraddha
- 4th October: Dashami Shraddha
- 5th October: Ekadashi Shraddha
- 6th October: Dwadashi Shraddha, Magha Shraddha
- 7th October: Trayodashi Shraddha, Chaturdashi Shraddha
- 8th October: Sarva Pitru Amavasya
Pitru Paksha 2019 Dates
|13 September 2019||Friday||Purnima Shradha|
|14 September 2019||Saturday||Pratipada Shradha|
|15 September 2019||Sunday||Dwitiya Shradha|
|16 September 2019||Monday||Tritiya Shradha|
|17 September 2019||Tuesday||Chaturthi Shradha|
|18 September 2019||Wednesday||Maha Bahrami, Panchami Shradha|
|19 September 2019||Thursday||Shashthi Shradha|
|20 September 2019||Friday||Saptami Shradha|
|21 September 2019||Saturday||Ashtami Shradha|
|22 September 2019||Sunday||Navami Shradha|
|23 September 2019||Monday||Dashami Shradha|
|24 September 2019||Tuesday||Ekadashi Shradha|
|25 September 2019||Wednesday||Dwadashi Shradha, Trayadoshir Shradha|
|26 September 2019||Thursday||Magha Shradha, Chaturdashi Shradha|
|27 September 2019||Friday||Sarva Pitra Amavasya|
Ingredients required to perform this Pooja
The ingredients required to perform Pitru Paksha are:
- White rice, A bucket of water, Piece of Kush grass (with roots attached), and Black till for performing the Tarpan.
- Ghee, 5 pairs of Puri/Suhari and Sweet rice, Black Till, Camphor, 1 Diya, Wood, Mango leaves, Lota with water and prepared food to take outside for performing the Havan.
- Prepared meals, or 3 or 5 pairs of Suhari/Puri and sweet rice for performing the Bhojan.
How to perform Pitru Paksha?
The ceremony of Pitru Paksha consists of three parts. These are:
Method of offering Tarpan:
- Mix the black till and white rice into the bucket of water. After that plant the Kush grass on the southern side of you. Then tie the Kush grass into a knot.
- Join your hands together and allow the water to scoop down your palms.
- Face the east and offer the ‘Jal’ with hands to the sun and recite 3 times, “Om Sri Suriyaayaai Namah.”
- Face the south and offer Tarpan with hands to the deceased ancestor. Do it 3 times for each ancestor in the following way: (Call the name of deceased) and recite “Pitra Swaadhaa”.
- Offer Tarpan 3 times. Say “Sarva Pitra Swaadhaa”
Method of performing Havan:
- Face south with the Havan Kund in front of. Say “Om Namo Narayana Namah” seven times. Spend a few moments reflecting on the forefathers who are honoured with Pitra Havan.
- Set the fire and make ghee offerings to the forefathers. Recite the same mantras as the Tarpan.
- Mix the ghee, black till, puri and sweet rice together.
- Make the offerings like the Tarpan using this mixture.
- Take the prepared food for forefathers outside.
Method of performing Bhojan:
- At least three people should accompany you.
- Take the food and a lighting piece of stick or camphor to the back of your house.
- Place the fire down and the food and water down in a neat way.
- Pause for a while to seek protection of these souls and then turn around and leave.
- You should not look at the food you have offered.
What are the rules for performing this ritual?
The rules for performing the Pitru Paksha are:
- The male performing the Puja should bathe before performing the Puja.
- The male performing the Puja should wear a Dhoti.
- He should wear a ‘Kush Grass’ ring.
- He should be bare-chested.
- The person performing the Puja should not have anything negative in his mind.
- Do not do anything ‘new’ during this time. Like engagement, wedding, buying a property etc.
- Avoid eating non-vegetarian food, onion, garlic, jeera, mustard oil etc.
- Do not harm any living beings during this period.
What is the cost of performing Pitru Paksha?
The cost of performing Pitru Paksha starts from as low as Rs 25 and can go up to Rs 5000.
The pandit performs the puja for a group of people together at the lower budget and the size of the group decreases with the increase in the budget. The budget ranges from Rs 2500-5000 if a Pandit dedicates himself to perform your Puja. This includes the cost of ingredients and donations.