The Hindu festival Pitr-Paksha 2015 starts on 28 September and lasts a fortnight until 12 October 2015.
What is Pitr-Paksha?
The dark fortnight which falls during the Hindu calendar months of Ashvin and Bhadrapad (September to October) is known as Pitr-Paksha, or Mahalay Paksha. This fortnight is a time for performing rites, Shraaddha, to honour deceased ancestors and keep their souls gratified for years.
It is believed that during Pitr-Paksha deceased ancestors from Lord Yamaraja’s (the lord of death) region are able to visit their homes during this time. Therefore, performing Shraaddha during this time helps to repay dept and pay thanks to ancestors to gratify their souls.
Literally translated, Shraaddha is an act performed in all sincerity and faith. In particular, it is the ritual made by Hindus to pay homage to dead ancestors and especially dead parents. The ritual allows Hindus to express gratitude and thanks to their parents and ancestors for helping make them what they are today. Shraaddha is performed separately for each parent.
Shraaddha are performed to ensure a smooth passage from physical existence to the subtle planes, allowing the soul to attain salvation and rest in peace.