Indian Fast & Festivals

Shradh

Shradh is a Sanskrit word which refers to anything that is done with utmost faith and devotion. Shradh 2019 date is considered highly significant because according to Hindu beliefs, the pooja, prayer, and prasad offered to deceased souls reach them almost instantly. It helps them to attain peace by their children. This is a time phase where we feel heartfelt gratitude towards our ancestors and pray for them so that they can rest in peace.


Shradh 2019 start date

Shradh 2019 will begin from 13th September 2019. It is the most important time period for our ancestors to shower their blessings on us.


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Significance of Pitru Paksha

The performance of Shraddha by a son during Pitru Paksha holds a great significance in Hindu Culture to ensure that their ancestors are resting in peace. In this context, the scripture Garuda Purana says, "there is no salvation for a man without a son". The scriptures preach that a householder should propitiate ancestors (Pitris), along with the gods (devas), ghosts (bhutas) and guests. At the time of Shradh, the ancestors will bestow health, wealth, knowledge and longevity, and ultimately heaven and salvation (moksha) upon the performer.

The performance of Sarva Pitru Amavasya rites can also compensate or neglected, which should ideally coincide with the death anniversary of the deceased. Shraddha involves offerings to three preceding generations—by reciting their names—as well as to the mythical lineage ancestor (gotra). A person thus gets to know the names of six generations (three preceding generations, his own and two succeeding generations—his sons and grandsons) in his life. Anthropologist Usha Menon of Drexel University shares her idea—that Pitru Paksha emphasizes the fact that the ancestors, current generation and their next unborn generation are connected by blood ties. The current generation repays their debt to the ancestors in Pitru Paksha. This debt is considered of utmost importance along with a person's debt to his gurus and his parents.

Pitru Paksha Shraddha (fortnight of the ancestors) is a 16–lunar day period when the Hindus pay homage to their ancestors (Pitras), especially through food offerings. This period is also known as Pitru Paksha, Pitru Dosha, Sola Shraddha ("sixteen shraddhas"), Kanagat, Jitiya, Mahalaya Paksha and Apara paksha.

Pitru Paksha is considered by Hindus to be inauspicious, given the death rite performed during the ceremony, known as Shraddha or tarpan. In southern and western India, it falls in the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada (September–October), beginning with the full moon day (Purnima) that occurs immediately after the Ganesh festival and ending with the new moon day known as Sarvapitri Amavasya, Pitru Amavasya, Peddala Amavasya, Mahalaya Amavasya or simply Mahalaya. In North India and Nepal, this period corresponds to the dark fortnight of the month Ashvin, instead of Bhadrapada.


History of Shradh

According to Hinduism, the souls of three preceding generations of one's ancestors reside in Pitru–Loka, a realm between heaven and earth. When a person of the next generation dies, the first generation shifts to heaven and unites with God. Thus, only the three generations in Pitru–Loka are given Shraddha rites, in which Yama plays a significant role. According to the sacred Hindu epics (Itihasa), at the beginning of Pitru Paksha, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Libra (Thula). Coinciding with this moment, it is believed that the spirits leave Pitru–Loka and reside in their descendants' homes for a month until the sun enters the next zodiac—Scorpio (Vrishchika)—and there is a full moon. Hindus are expected to propitiate the ancestors in the first half, during the dark fortnight.


Shradh Pitru Paksha 2019

When Karna, the brave warrior whose acts of giving are legendary even today, died in the epic Mahabharata war, his soul transcended to heaven, where he was offered gold and jewels as food. Karna said that since he was unaware of his ancestors, he never donated anything in their memory. To make amends, Karna was permitted to return to earth for a 15–day period, so that he could perform Shraddha and donate food and water in their memory. This period is now known as Pitru Paksha. In some legends, Yama replaces Indra.


Determination of Date

Shradh begins on Bhadrapad Purnima falling at Aparahna (after noon). If Purnima does not fall during Aparahna on both days then Shradh begin from first day. This year Shradh 2019 is starting from 13th September 2019.


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How to perform Shradh

The Shradha Ritual is performed on the specific lunar day during the Pitru Paksha when the ancestor—usually a parent or paternal grandparent—died. There are exceptions to the lunar day rule; special days are allotted for people who had died or had a certain status in life. Chautha Bharani and Bharani Panchami, the fourth and fifth lunar day respectively, are allocated for people deceased in the past year. Avidhava navami ("Widowed ninth"), the ninth lunar day, is for married women who died before their husbands. Widowers invite Brahmin women as guests for their wives’ shraddha. The twelfth lunar day is for children and ascetics who had renounced the worldly pleasures. The fourteenth day is known as Ghata chaturdashi or Ghayala chaturdashi, and is reserved for those people killed by arms, in war or suffered a violent death.

Sarva Pitru Amavasya (all fathers' new moon day) is intended for all ancestors, irrespective of the lunar day they died. Those who have forgotten to perform shraddha can do so on this day. A Shradh Pitru Paksha 2019 ritual performed on this day is considered as fruitful as one conducted in the holy city of Gaya, which is seen as a special place to perform the rite, and hosts a fair during the Pitru Paksha period. In Bengal, Mahalaya marks the beginning of Durga Puja festivities. Mahalaya is the day when the goddess Durga is believed to have descended to Earth. Bengali people traditionally wake up early in the morning on Mahalaya to recite hymns from the Devi Mahatmyam (Chandi) scripture. Offerings to the ancestors are made in homes and at puja mandaps (temporary shrines). Matamaha ("Mother's father") or Dauhitra ("Daughter's son") also marks the first day of the month of Ashvin and the beginning of the bright fortnight. It is assigned to the grandson of the deceased maternal grandfather.


Shradh 2019 start date and end date

Shradh Pitru Paksha 2019 will begin on 13th September 2019 and will end on 28th September 2019.

The ritual is also held on the death anniversary of the ancestor. The shraddha is performed only at noon, usually on the bank of a river or lake or at one's own house. Families may also make a pilgrimage to places like Varanasi and Gaya to perform Shraddha. An annual Pitru Paksha Mela at Gaya on the banks of River Falgu. Pilgrims from all corners of the country visit Gaya for offering Pinda to their Ancestors. According to Bihar Tourism Department estimates, some 5,00,000 to 75,00,000 pilgrims arrive in the Gaya city during the Pitru Paksha Mela every year.

It is essential that Shraddha be performed by the son—usually the eldest—or male relative of the paternal branch of the family, limited to the preceding three generations. However, on Sarvapitri amavasya or matamaha, the daughter's son can offer Shraddha for the maternal side of his family if a male heir is absent in his mother's family. Some castes only perform the shraddha for one generation. Prior to performing the rite, the male should have experienced a sacred thread ceremony. Since the ceremony is considered inauspicious due to its association with death, the royal family of Kutch, the king or heir of the throne are prohibited from conducting Shraddha.

The food offerings made to the ancestors are usually cooked in silver or copper vessels and placed on a banana leaf or cups made of dried leaves. The food must include Kheer (a type of sweet rice and milk), lapsi (a sweet porridge made of wheat grains), rice, dal (lentils), the vegetable of spring bean (guar) and a yellow gourd (pumpkin).


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Rites of Shraddha

Pind Daan is being done at the Jagannath Ghat, Kolkata. The male who performs the shraddha should purify himself by taking a bath beforehand and is expected to wear a dhoti. The shraddha is usually performed bare-chested, as the position of the sacred thread worn by him needs to be changed multiple times during the ceremony. The shraddha involves Pind-Daan, which is an offering to the ancestors of pindas (cooked rice and barley flour balls mixed with ghee and black sesame seeds), accompanying the release of water from the hand. It is followed by the worship of Vishnu in the form of the darbha grass, a gold image or Shaligram stone and Yama. The food offering is then made, cooked especially for the ceremony on the roof. The offering is considered to be accepted if a crow arrives and devours the food; the bird is believed to be a messenger from Yama or the spirit of the ancestors. A cow and a dog are also fed, and Brahmin priests are also offered food. Once the ancestors (crow) and Brahmins have eaten, the family members can begin lunch.


Shradh 2019 dates in Hindi

Pitru Paksha 2019: पितृ पक्ष 2019 (श्राद्ध की तिथियां)

13 सितंबर (13 September) - पूर्णिमा श्राद्ध ( Purnima Shraddha)

14 सितंबर (14 September) - प्रतिपदा ( Pratipada)

15 सितंबर (15 September) - द्वितीया ( Dwitiya)

16 सितंबर (16 September) – तृतीया (Tritiya)

17 सितंबर (17 September) - चतुर्थी ( Chaturthi)

18 सितंबर (18 September) - पंचमी, महा भरणी ( Panchami, Maha Bharani)

19 सितंबर (19 September) - षष्ठी (Shashti)

20 सितंबर (20 September) - सप्तमी ( Saptami)

21 सितंबर (21 September) - अष्टमी ( Ashtami)

22 सितंबर (22 September) - नवमी ( Navami)

23 सितंबर (23 September) - दशमी ( Dashami)

24 सितंबर (24 September) - एकादशी ( Ekadashi)

25 सितंबर (25 September) - द्वादशी ( Dwadashi)

26 सितंबर (26 September) - त्रयोदशी (Trayodashi)

27 सितंबर (27 September) - मघा श्राद्ध ( Magha Shradh)

28 सितंबर (28 September) - सर्वपित्र अमावस्या ( Sarva pitru Amavasya)

We highly recommend you to book a Shradh Puja to provide peace & contentment to your ancestors and get their auspicious blessings which are a must for living a prosperous, successful and blissful life.


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