Pitar Paksha will be observed by Hindus from September 19 to October 4 this year. It is the sixteen lunar day period which is dedicated to our ancestors and forefathers.
Water oblations will commence as from the 20th in view of the fact that pitar paksha commences at 15h15 on the 19th.
It commences on poornima (full moon day) of Bhadrapada (September) and ends on Amavasya (no moon day) of Ashwini month in Shukla Paksh (waxing moon period). During this period people pay homage to their pitar or ancestors as Pitra Paksh refers to the fortnight of ancestors when offerings of food and water is offered in great reverence to the Supreme Lord and the remnants know as prashad is offered to their ancestors.
In the Bhagavad-gita which was spoken by God Himself it is stated:
When there is increase of unwanted population, a hellish situation is created both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. In such corrupt families, there is no offering of oblations of food and water to the ancestors. BG 1.41
It is a very auspicious time of the year when normal poojas and ceremonies – mundane activities of doing something new such as purchasing a car or home or getting married is set aside and focus is placed at the Lotus feet of the Lord to liberate the souls of their ancestors. The first day of Pitra Paksh is Poornima Shraadh when offerings are made to the maternal and paternal grandparents.
On the rest of the days know as Pratipada, Dwitiya, Tritiya, Caturthi, Panchami, Shasthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, Dashami, Ekadashi, Dwadashi Trayodashi, Chaturdasi & finally Sarva Pitra Amavasa - poojas and offerings are made according to the Tithi or phase of the moon when the person had died. It is therefore important for one to consult with a bone fide astrologer to determine the tithi of the departed so as to enable one to make the offerings on the correct day during pitar paksha so as to maximise on the benefit that the soul can derive to pave his way back home, back to Godhead and never return to this mundane world of suffering again.
For those person that are not aware of the tithi on which the soul left the world they can make their offerings on the last day of pitar paksha known as Sarvapitra Moksha Amavasya but attempt to consult with an astrologer to determine the correct Tithi for future offerings.
Pundit Roshan Singh