Shradh 2017: Significance, how to offer food to ancestors
On 5th September Hindus across India will observe Pitru Paksha 2017. On this day, Hindus pay homage to their ancestors by offering food. The period is also known as Shradh and Kanagat, which according to Southern and Western India falls during the second paksha of the Hindu Lunar month of Badrapada and the fortnight immediately after Anant Chaturdashi or Ganesh Visarjan.
This year, Shradh will start from 5th September and end on 19th September, 2017. It is believed that Shradh rites liberate souls from the vicious circle of life and death and help them attain salvation.
Significance of Shradh:
The souls of our three preceding generations reside in Pitru-Loka, which is considered to be a realm between heaven and earth. This realm is led by the god of death, Yama. It is believed that when a person from the next generation dies, the first generation is taken to heaven bringing them closer to God. Only the last three generations in Pitru-Loka are given shradha rites according to belief.
According to Hindu scriptures, during the Mahabharata, when Karna died his soul was taken to heaven where he was offered lots of gold and jewels. However, Karna was looking for food to eat and asked Indra, who is considered as the lord of heaven, the reason for serving gold as food. That's when Indra told Karna that he donated gold all his life, but never donated food to his ancestors during Shradh. Realising what Indra claimed, Karna answered that he never knew who his ancestors were, so he couldn't donate anything in their memory.
However, Karna was given a chance to amend his mistake and was permitted to return to earth for 15 days, so that he could perform shradh rites and donate food and water in their memory. This period of 15 days went on to be called as Pitru Paksha.
Pitru Paksha Calendar:
Shradh 2017 will commence on 5th September and end on 19th September, 2017.
- 05th September - Purnima Shraddha
- 06th September - Pratipada Shraddha
- 07th September - Dwitiya Shraddha
- 08th September - Tritiya Shraddha
- 09th September - Chaturthi Shraddha
- 10th September - Maha Bharani, Panchami Shraddha
- 11th September - Shashthi Shraddha
- 12th September - Saptami Shraddha
- 13th September - Ashtami Shraddha
- 14th September - Navami Shraddha
- 15th September - Dashami Shraddha
- 16th September - Ekadashi Shraddha
- 17th September - Dwadashi Shraddha, Trayodashi Shraddha
- 18th September - Magha Shraddha, Chaturdashi Shraddha
- 19th September - Sarva Pitru Amavasya
Shradh 2017: Dates in other countries:
USA and Canada - September 6 to September 20
UK and Europe - September 6 to September 20
UAE & Gulf countries - September 6 to September 20
Singapore - September 6 to September 20
Malaysia - September 6 to September 20
South Africa and African countries - September 6 to September 20
Australia - September 6 to September 20
New Zealand - September 6 to September 20
Mauritius - September 6 to September 20
Maldives - September 6 to September 20
Shradh 2017:How to perform:
Every year, an important period of 16 days (Pitru Paksha or Shraadh) is dedicated to the ancestors or forefathers. Pitru Paksha is considered perfect for performing Tarpan rituals. It is believed that the rituals performed during Shradh produces best results for pleasing the ancestors. Shradh occurs right before the Sharada Navaratri in autumn. Shradh or Tarpan ritual is also performed on the death anniversary of the departed family member. Different Tarpan rituals are performed for different departed members of the family or a particular day from Shraddha during Pitru Paksha is dedicated to that departed member. His or her favorite food items and clothes are offered to Brahmins or Pandits. Brahmins consume the food items and except the offerings and it is believed that finally they reached to our ancestors or forefathers.