Importance of Pitru Paksh Period
Pitru Paksha Shraddh – Annual Rituals to Dead Ancestors
Shraddh or Shradh offered during Pitru Paksh (dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha) in the month of Ashwin (September – October) is of great importance in Hindu religion. Shraddh is the ceremonies and rituals performed for the departed souls of dead ancestors. It is believed that the souls will attain peace by the Shraddh rituals performed during the fortnight.
According to Hindu mythology, the Shraddh performed on Ashwin Pitru Paksha reaches the ancestors immediately and their souls will rest in peace. Hindu Puranas are full of details about Shraddh, especially Agni Purana, Garuda Purana and Matysa Purana. It is Yama, the god of death in Hindu mythology, who explained the importance of Shraddh performed on Pitru 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, Mahalaya amavasya or simply Mahalaya.
In North India and Nepal, this period corresponds to the dark fortnight of the month Ashvin, instead of Bhadrapada.
Different Names of Pitru Paksh
Shraddha are the various names used to describe the 16-lunar day period when Hinndus pay homage to their ancestors (Pitras).