Pitr paksha, Pitri Paksha, Pitru Pakshya, Pitri Pokkho
Pitru means ancestors and Paksha means 15 day lunar period. Thus Pitru Paksha is a 15 day lunar period, when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors by offering Shraddha and Tarpan. Pitru Paksha is also known as Jitiya, Mahalaya Paksha Sola Shraddha, Apara paksha, Jitiya, Mahalaya Paksha and Kanagat.
Pitru Paksha days are considered inauspicious by Hindus. Only death rites can be performed in these days. People do not perform other any other festival are function. Here you can see do’s and dont’s of Pitru Paksha.
Pitru Paksha Dates
According Amavasyant lunar calenders fallowed in southern and western parts of India, it falls in the Dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada. According to Purnimant lunar calenders fallowed in North India and Nepal, this period corresponds to the dark fortnight of the month Ashvin, instead of Bhadrapada.
Story of Pitru Paksha
Hindus belive that, There is a loka (World) between heaven and earth called Pitru loka ruled by death god Yama. After death lord Yama takes the solus to this loka. Yama keeps three generations of solus here. When a person of the fourth generation dies, the first generation souls moves to heaven and unites with God. So we need to provide shrddha rituals to ancestors of three generations. At the starting of Pitru Paksha, it is believed that Yama releases our ancestors at sunrise and they must return to Pitru Loka at sunset. There legend in epic Mahabharata about Pitru Paksha.
Significance of Pitru Paksha
Daan is also the main part of the pitru Paksha. On Pitru Paksha Days Pinda daan, Shradh and Tarpan rituals are performed to please the ancestors. Last day of putru paksha is called as Mahalaya Amavasya or Sarva Pitru Amavasya or Amavasya Shradh. This Mahalaya Amavasy is the most important day of Pitru Paksha. On this day we can perform Shradh to forgotten or neglected. Shraddha is performed to three preceding generations by reciting their names and gotra.
Rules of Pitru Paksha Shradha
Shraddha ritual is performed on the perticular lunar day on the Pitru Paksha, when the ancestor usually died. There are a few exceptions to the lunar day rule. Some special days are specified for people according to how they died and Status in life.
The fourth and fifth days of Pitru Paksha is called Chautha Bharani and Bharani Panchami, are alloted for people deceased in the past year.
Avidhava navami, the ninth day of Pitru Paksha, is for married women who died before their husband.
The twelfth day of pitru paksha is for children.
The fourteenth day of Pitru paksha, is known as Ghata chaturdashi or Ghayala chaturdashi, is alloted to the who died in war or killed by arms.
Sarva pitru amavasya is for all ancestors, irrespective of the which lunar day they died. It is the most important day of the Pitru Paksha.
A shraddha ritual performed in the holy city of Gaya and Varanasi, considered auspicious. Mahalaya Amavasya marks the start of Durga puja festivities in Bengal. Rites are also performed on the death anniversary of the ancestor.
Who should perform Shraddh for whom?
Shradha is performed by the Eldest male from the father side family. Shraddha ritual can be performed for preceding three generations. On Sarva Pitru Amavasya Shradh can be performed for mother side family.