Sarva Pitru Amavasya - Significance And Rituals
Each year during the Bhadrapada month, which falls around August-September as per the Gregorian calendar, Hindus remember their ancestors and make offerings (usually in the form of food) by observing shraddh during the 16-day period known as Pitru Paksha. The period extends from Purnima to Amavasya during the month. Shraddh or tarpan is performed during this period, irrespective of whether the ancestors passed away during Krishna Paksha or Shukla Paksha. It is believed that deceased ancestors visit their descendants during this period.
The term ‘Sarva Pitru’ denotes ‘all forefathers or ancestors’ and Sarva Pitru Amavasya is dedicated to all ancestors whose death tithi may have been forgotten or is unknown. In Bengal, the day is observed as ‘Mahalaya,’ signifying the beginning of the celebration of Durga Puja or Navratri festivities. The day is therefore also known as Mahalaya Amavasya or Sarva Pitra Moksha Amavasya. While it is observed in Bhadrapada month as per Hindu calendar in South India, it is observed during Ashwin month in North India.
- On Sarva Pitru Amavasya, Shraadha rituals and tarpan are performed for ancestors whose shradhh couldn't be performed on the designated tithi. Some even perform shraddh for all their ancestors together on this day.
- The day is also meant for the shraddh of those who died on ‘Purnima’, ‘Amavasya’ or ‘Chaturdashi’, since the Shraddh Paksha begins a day after Purnima.
- Individuals wear yellow colored clothes and invite Brahmins to offer food and make donations.
- Usually, Shraddh ceremony is performed by the most senior male member of the family.
- The observers are required to clean the feet of the Brahmins and seat them at a holy place. Sesame seeds are also sprinkled where the Brahmins are seated.
- On Sarva Pitru Amavasya, individuals offer prayers to their ancestors with flowers, diya, and dhoop. A mixture of barley and water is also offered.
- After concluding with puja rituals, Brahmins are served special meals.
- To invoke the blessings of forefathers, mantras are recited on a continuous basis.
Significance of Sarva Pitru Amavasya
- The rituals of Sarva Pitru Amavasya are observed to attain prosperity, welfare, and blessings.
- It is believed that if all the shraddha rituals are not performed, ancestors return unhappily from the place of their descendants.
- Observers are bestowed with divine blessings of Lord Yama and family members are also saved from any kind of evils or obstacles.
- As per astrology, it is believed that the past sins or wrong deeds of the ancestors are reflected in the horoscope of their children under Pitru Dosha. Because of this, natives suffer in their lifetime. By observing the shraddha rituals, this dosha can also be removed.
- The rituals are said to relieve the souls of forefathers and help them attain salvation.