Also spelled as Pitru Paksha, Pitr Paksha is an observance in Hindu culture as per the Hindu calendar wherein a 16 lunar day period is observed. The term literally means ‘’Fortnight of the ancestors.’’ The word ‘’Pitr’’ refers to one’s ancestors. This festival is celebrated right before the beginning of the popular festival of Dusshera in the country. In Bengali culture, the observance is also referred to as ‘’Mahalaya’’ is mainly the special event of honoring and showing gratitude to your previous generations who have passed away in order to acknowledge their contributions to our lives as well the society. This year Pitr Paksha begins on the 5th of September and will go on for 16 days, ending on the 19th of September, 2017.
Pitr Paksha in India is also known by several other terms, some of which are—Pitri Pokkho, Kanagat, Sola Shraddha, Mahalaya Paksha, Jitiya, and Apara Paksha.
The festival mainly takes place in the month of September soon after the much popular festival of Ganesh Chaturthi wraps up. Pitr Paksha actually begins right after a fortnight from the Ganesh festival and is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. The languages we speak, the ways we are molded, the wealth and knowledge we have inherited—are all gifts and tokens from the previous generations who have existed before us and hence, this festival is wholeheartedly dedicated to our ancestors.
While some people go to the river ghats, letting priests perform rituals for the peace of the spirits of their ancestors, some people choose to offer the first production of crops that are newly yielded this time as a mark of respect to pay tribute to their prior generations. In Hinduism, due to the sad essence of death of loved ones (ancestors) associated with this day, it is often considered to be inauspicious.
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