Saturday, October 6, 2012

Shraddh period in Hinduism

According to the Hindu calendar, this is the shraddh period going on.  For fifteen days in a year, the ancestors are remembered and prayed to. No auspicious events / ceremonies take place in this time. People use the tithi/date of death to invite a Pandit and feed the departed soul. It means you remember the person passed away, give food to the Pandit and the crows. People keep a cooked meal on the terrace. They try to make the favourite food of the departed person. My memories are of my Grandma mixing and crushing all the savouries with her hands and when it was in form of  a paste, my Uncle would go to the terrace and throw the food for the crows. Crows in Hinduism are considered messengers of the departed souls. A lot of people feed Gathiyas to the crows for the full year. If your ancestors are happy, then your life goes well ,is the general belief amongst Hindus. The shraddh period falls exactly between Ganpati and Navratri. One does not buy a house or have a wedding in this time. In fact if one plans to start work/ renovation in their house, then the workers come during the 11 days of Ganpati with their tools and start some token work. It means that the work has started pre shradh. No new work starts during this period. Now in the fast life of India, lot of people go to the temple on the last day of shradh which is called Sarva pitra Amavashya and donate grains, sugar, oil, ghee, fruits n vegetables. This signifies that you prayed and did charity for all your ancestors. So on this day there is a huge line in front of the Pandit/priest and not in front of the idol of God.
  This year the Shraddh started on 30th sep and ends on 15th October.From 16th OCtober, Navratri starts. Its a nine day festival of Goddess Durga/Amba. On 16th, one can see the change in the daylight. The days are crisper and there is a slight chill in the air. the nights feel festive. The weather takes the turn for the better. We all look forward to it. the days start getting shorter and cooler. Look forward to the season of celebration.

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