Pitru paksha, the period when Hindus offer respect to their ancestors starts today and will continue till October 4. Also known as Mahalaya Paksha, the fortnight is meant to please one’s departed ancestors and it holds much importance among all communities.
“Our ancestors, especially our parents dedicated their lives in taking care of us and providing for us. Thus, it is our duty to perform the rituals that will satisfy the departed souls. Ideally, pitru tarpanam is to be performed throughout the 15-day period and food has to be served in remembrance of our ancestors,” said Venkatesa Ganapadigal, head priest in Navagraha Vinayaka temple in Vashi.
Pitru tarpanam/tarpan is a procedure wherein the person remembers 12 of his ancestors. It could be departed parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on. Food and water is offered to the departed souls while performing this ritual and that is the important part. It is usually done in the presence of a priest, but nowadays there are books and cassettes detailing the tarpanam procedure so that people can themselves do it at home.
“When the person performs the rituals, his ancestors’ souls attain what is commonly known as ‘moksha’. Since the ancestors, the current generation and the unborn generation are connected, these duties are considered to be important. It is believed that if the rituals are not performed correctly, it may adversely affect the following generation,” said Mohan Paithani, head priest in Jagruteshwar Shiv Temple at sector 7, Vashi.
During this time, no special puja or festivities are carried out in temples as it is concerned with performing rites for the dead.
Similarly, even in households no auspicious activities are held during the fortnight be it weddings, engagements or naming ceremony. No new property is bought during this time nor house-warming ceremonies are held. It is also considered an inappropriate time to buy valuables.