Pitru Paksha; Importance, Significance, Observance, Do’s and Don'ts - The India Saga



Pitru Paksha; Importance, Significance, Observance, Do’s and Don’ts

Indians have a healthy civilisation manners of respecting and caring for their elders. We considered this as a tribute and…

Pitru Paksha; Importance, Significance, Observance, Do’s and Don’ts

Pitru Paksha 2023

Indians have a healthy civilisation manners of respecting and caring for their elders. We considered this as a tribute and route to show gratitude for their guidance and wisdom. In Bhartiya culture, respecting elders even after their demise is deeply ingrained in heritage, it is about honouring their experience, admiring their wisdom and seeking their blessings. It is an elegant aspect of our culture. In their honour and memory, Hindu devotees observe Pitru Paksha for 16 days every year in the Bhadrapada month of the Hindu calendar.  


Pitru Paksha ‘Patra Ancestral Fortnight’ is 16 days in the Hindu calendar when Hindus honour their ancestors (Pitrs), especially with food offerings. The period is also known as Pitri Paksha, Shraddha, and Kanagat. Pitru Paksha is considered auspicious by Hindus because of the death rites performed during the ceremony known as Shraddha or Tarpana. This year it will start from 29th September, Friday. 




In Hinduism, the souls of the ancestors of the previous three generations live in Pitriloka, between heaven and earth. This sphere is ruled by Yama, the god of death, who takes the dead soul from Earth to Pitriloka. Only those three generations are given Shraddha rituals in which Yama plays a prominent role. In Pitru Paksha, prayers are offered for moksha to the ancestors as well as the ritual performers. According to Swami Sivananda, Pitru Paksha alleviates the suffering of souls who remain in heaven before experiencing samsara or rebirth, and in case those souls are reborn after their death, Shradda increases their happiness in their new birth.


According to Hindu sacred epics, at the beginning of Pitru Paksha, the sun enters the zodiac sign Schalku the table of contents Virgo (Kanya). Simultaneously with this moment, the spirits probably leave Pitriloka and remain in the homes of their descendants for a month, until the sun enters the next sign of the zodiac – Scorpio (Vrischika) – and the full moon arrives. Hindus are expected to appease their ancestors during the first half, the dark fortnight.



Hindus consider it mandatory to perform Shraddha during Pitru Paksha to ensure that the soul of the ancestor reaches heaven. In this context, the scripture Garuda Purana says, “There is no salvation for a man without a son.”  The scriptures preach that the householder should reconcile his ancestors (Pitris), as well as gods (devas), elements (bhutas), and strangers. The scripture Markandeya Purana says that when the ancestors are satisfied with the shraddhas, they grant the performer health, wealth, knowledge and longevity, and finally heaven and salvation (moksha). 


Observance & Rituals


Shraddha is performed on a specific lunar day during Pitru Paksha when an ancestor – usually a parent or grandparent – has died. There are exceptions to the monthly rule; special days are given to people who died in a certain way or had a certain position in life. It is essential for Shraddha, to be performed by a son – usually the eldest – or a male relative on the father’s side of the family, limited to the previous three generations. However, on Sarvapitri Amavasya, a daughter’s son can offer Shraddha in his mother’s family if there is no male heir in his mother’s family. Some castes perform shraddha only for one generation. 


Foods offered to the ancestors are usually cooked in silver or copper vessels and usually placed on a banana leaf or in cups made of dried leaves. Food should include Kheer and the most loved food by ancestors. 


A man who performs shraddha must take a purifying bath beforehand and must wear a dhoti, then the ancestors are invited. Shraddha is usually performed bare-chested because the position of the sacred thread has to be changed several times during the ceremony. The sraddha includes pinda dana, an offering to the pinda ancestors, associated with releasing water from the hand. This is followed by worship of Vishnu (in the form of darbha grass, golden image or Shaligram stone) and Yama. A food offering is then made, specially prepared for the rooftop ceremony. The sacrifice is considered accepted when the crow arrives and eats the food; the bird is believed to be a messenger of Yama or an ancestral spirit.



  • Food, donations, and clothes are offered to Brahmins during this period.
  • Animals like crows, dogs, and cows are fed regularly.
  • We must worship our ancestors every morning and evening during this period.
  • We must follow Brahmacharya mode.
  • If possible feed the poor.



  • Avoid using abusive language and cursing; it creates a negative energy.
  • Discontinue eating rice, garlic, onion, non-veg, tobacco, and eggs.
  • Do not cut your nails, hair and beard.
  • Stop yourself from buying new clothes.
  • Alcohol consumption is also prohibited during this period.

Shraddha Name

Day & Date

Tithi & Nakshatra

Purnima/ Pratipada

29- September, Friday

Bhadrapad, Shukla Purnima

Dwitya Shraddha

30- September, Saturday

Aswina, Krishna Dwitiya

Tritiya Shraddha

1- October, Sunday

Aswina, Krishna Tritiya

Chaturdasi Shraddha

2- October, Monday

Aswina, Krishna Chaturthi

Panchmi Shraddha

3- October, Tuesday

Aswina, Krishna Panchmi

Shashthi Shraddha

4- October, Wednesday

Aswina, Krishna Sashthi

Saptami Shraddha

5- October, Thursday

Aswina, Krishna Saptami

Ashtami Shraddha

6- October, Friday

Aswina, Krishna Ashtami

Navmi Shraddha

7- October, Saturday

Aswina, Krishna Navmi

Dashmi Shraddha 

8-October, Sunday

Aswina, Krishna Dashmi

Ekadashi Shraddha

9- October, Monday

Aswina, Krishna Ekadashi

Magha Shraddha

10- October, Tuesday

Aswina, Magha Nakshatra

Dwadashi Shraddha

11- October, Wednesday

Aswina, Krishna Dwadashi

Magha Shraddha

12- October, Thursday

Aswina, Magha Nakshatra

Chaturdashi Shraddha

13- October, Friday

Aswina, Krishna Chaturdashi

Sarva Pitru Amavasya

14- October, Saturday

Aswina, Krishna Amavasya