Sohra shraddha or Pitru Paksha (literally "fortnight of the ancestors") is a 16-day lunar period during which Hindus honor their ancestors (Pitris) by making food offerings. Other names for this time period include: Pitri Paksha, Pitri Pokkho, Sola Shradh ("sixteen shradhs"), Kanagat, Jitiya, Mahalaya Paksha, and Apara Paksha.
This year in 2021, Sorha Shraddha is starting from 21st September.
As a religious practice, Sorha Shraddha is a way for people to thank their parents and ancestors for shaping who they are today, and to pray for their well-being. "Day of Remembrance" is another term for it. It's done on the anniversaries of the father's and mother's deaths, according to the Hindu calendar, for each separately.
Right before Sharad Navaratri, at the end of the Pitru Paksha or Shraddha Paksha (the Fortnight of Ancestors), it is also performed for the entire community of 'Pitri (dead),' both on the paternal and maternal sides, collectively.
In Hinduism, Sohra Shraddha has great meaning and significance as a ritual that one performs to honor one's 'ancestors,' particularly deceased parents.
The mythology behind Sohra Shraddha
During the epic Mahabharata wars, Karna, a legendary donor, was killed and his soul went to heaven. There, he was offered gold and jewels as food. Despite the fact that Karna was starving, he went to Indra, the god of the skies, and demanded to know why he was served gold as food. Indra told Karna that he had donated gold to his ancestors in Shraddha all his life, but he had never given them food. Karna admitted that he never made a donation in memory of his ancestors because he was unaware of their existence. Karna was allowed to return to Earth for 16 days to perform Shraddha and donate food and water in remembrance of his ancestors. Pitri Paksha is the modern name for this time period. Yama can take the place of Indra in some mythologies.
When is Sohra Shraddha?
A death rite known as Shraddha or tarpan is performed during Pitri Paksha, which Hindus believe is unfortunate. It takes place in the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada (September–October), starting with the full moon day (Purnima) that occurs immediately after the Ganesh festival and ending with the new moon day known as Sarvapitri Amavasya, Mahalaya Amavasya, or simply Mahalaya. Instead of Bhadrapada, this is the dark fortnight of the month Ashvin in North India and Nepal.
Mahalaya Paksha's fifteen days are each called a Tithi (also called Thithi). Pratipat, Dvitiya, Tritiya, Chaturthi, Panchami, Shashti, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, Dasami, Ekadasi, Dvadasi, Trayodasi, Chaturdashi, and Amavasya (new moon). Pitri Tarpan should be performed on the same Day or tithi of your ancestor's death, which will fall within these fifteen days according to Hindu mythology.
How is Sohra Shraddha carried out or what are the rituals of Sohra Shraddha?
The person who carries out the Shraddha for his ancestor is called Karta, one who does the Karma as in ritual. Karta according to Hindu Tradition always happens to the eldest of the sons of the son. This Karta calls a Bhraman, priest in Hindu religion and arranges for puja according to what Bhraman says. On this day Brahman is worshipped, fed as Brahman represents the deceased parent. Hom which is what the puja is called to please the god of fire Agni and Som, the deity who is believed to deliver offerings to the deceased ancestors.
According to Hindu tradition, a son's Shraddha performance during Pitri Paksha is required to ensure that his ancestor's soul goes to heaven. According to the Hindu scripture Garuda Purana, "without a son, a man cannot be saved." A householder is advised by the scriptures to pay respect to their ancestors (Pitris), gods (Devta), ghosts (Bhoot), and visitors. According to the Markandeya Purana, if the ancestors are satisfied with the shraddhas, they will bestow health, wealth, knowledge, and longevity on the performer, and eventually heaven and salvation (moksha).
Shraddha must be performed by the son, usually the eldest, or a male relative from the father's side of the family, limited to the previous three generations. If there is no male heir in his mother's family on Sarvapitri Amavasya or matamaha, the daughter's son can offer Shraddha for the maternal side of his family. The shraddha is only performed for one generation by some castes. A sacred thread ceremony should have been completed by the male before performing the rite. As a result of the ceremony's association with death, it is forbidden for members of the Kutchi royal family, including the king and his heirs, to perform Shraddha.
Rites of Sorha Shraddha
The male performer of the shradh is expected to take a purifying bath and wear a dhoti before performing the shraddha. He has on a Kush ring. After that, the ancestors are summoned to take up seats in the ring. It is customary for the shraddha to be performed bare-chested due to the necessity of changing the position of the sacred thread he wears several times during the ceremony. Pinda-Daan, an offering to the ancestors of pindas (cooked rice and barley flour balls mixed with ghee and black sesame seeds), is part of the shraddha. Then comes the veneration of Vishnu in the form of the Kush, a gold image, or the Shaligram stone, and Yama.
After that, the food offering is prepared especially for the roof ceremony. If a crow comes and eats the food, it's considered acceptable because the bird is a messenger from Yama or the spirit of the ancestors. There is also food for a cow, a dog, and Brahmin priests. People can begin lunch after the ancestors (crow) and the Brahmins have eaten.
What food is prepared for the Sorha Shradha?
Ancestral food offerings are usually prepared in silver or copper vessels and served on banana leaves or in dried leaf cups. Kheer (sweet rice and milk dish), rice, and dal (lentils) are all required as well as the spring bean Vegetable. Pickles usually are less sour and hot. Sometimes Selroti is also cooked.
Significance of Sorha shraddha in Hindu Tradition
According to Hindu mythology, the souls of three generations of an ancestor reside in Pitri–loka, a realm situated halfway between heaven and earth. Pitri–lok is ruled by the death god Yama, who transports the soul of a dying man from Earth to his realm of power. When someone from the next generation dies, the first generation goes to heaven and joins God, so no Shraddha offerings are given. As a result, only the first three generations of Pitri–lok receive Shraddha rites, in which Yama plays a significant role. The Hindu epics (Itihas) state that the sun enters the zodiac sign of Virgo at the start of Pitri Paksha (Kanya).
The spirits are said to leave Pitri–loka at this time and stay in the homes of their ancestors for a month until the sun enters the next zodiac, Scorpio (Vrichchhika), and there is a full moon. During the first fortnight of the festival, Hindus are expected to pay homage to their ancestors.
Sarvapitri Amavasya rites can also compensate for a forgotten or neglected annual Shraddha ceremony, which should ideally coincide with the deceased's death anniversary. The ceremony, according to Sharma, is essential to understanding family lines. Shraddha entails offering oblations to three preceding generations (whose names are recited) as well as the mythical ancestor of the lineage (gotra). An individual thus gets to know the names of six generations in his life, reaffirming family ties to the previous three generations (his own generation, as well as his sons and grandsons—the generations after him).
An ancestor—usually a parent or paternal grandparent—died on a specific lunar day during the Pitri Paksha, and the shraddha is performed during that time period. The lunar day rule is not absolute; special days are set aside for people who died in a certain way or had a certain position in life. The fourth and fifth lunar days of the month, Chautha Bharani and Bharani Panchami, are dedicated to remembering loved ones who have passed away in the previous year. When a married woman dies before her husband, the ninth lunar day is known as Avidhava Navami ("Unwidowed ninth"). Widowers invite Brahmin women to their wives ' shraddha as guests. The twelfth lunar day is dedicated to children and ascetics who have given up worldly pleasures. The fourteenth day of the Hindu lunar calendar is known as Ghata Chaturdashi or Ghayala Chaturdashi and is dedicated to those who have died as a result of a violent act, such as in war.
Durga Puja officially begins with Mahalaya.
Every ancestor should be honored on Sarvapitri Amavasya, the "new moon day of all fathers," regardless of when he died on the lunar calendar. The Pitri Paksha culminates on this day. On this day, those who forgot to perform shraddha will be able to do so. As a special place to perform the rite, the holy city of Gaya is also known as Pitri Paksha hosts an annual fair, making any shraddha ritual performed on this day just as fruitful. Durga's descent to Earth is celebrated on Mahalaya, the day she supposedly descended to Earth. Bengalis traditionally get up early on Mahalaya to recite hymns from the Devi Mahatmyam (Chandi) scripture.
In homes and at puja mandaps, people make sacrifices and gifts to the dead (temporary shrines). Matamaha ("Mother's father") or Dauhitra ("Daughter's son") also denotes the beginning of the month of Ashvin and the bright fortnight. Apparently, it's assigned for the grandson of late maternal grandfathers to make this offering.
Time table of Sorha Shraddha Paksha
Purnima Shraddha - Sorha Shraddha Paksha has begun as of today, according to the Hindu calendar. It's also called Proshthapadi Purnima.
Pratipada Shraddha- If you have maternal ancestors, you should give them Shraadh (remembrance).
Dwitiya Shraddha, Tritiya Shraddha - People should offer Shraadh to their ancestors who died on the second or third day (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) of the month according to the Hindu solar calendar. It's also known as Mahabharni Shraadh. Shraadh, this is crucial. Yamraj is the ruler of Bharni Nakshatra and the god of death. On this day, people should give Shraadh to their ancestors as best they can.
Maha Bharani, Chaturthi Shraddha - Forefathers who died on the 12th day of the Hindu solar calendar month (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) should be remembered with Shraadh on this day.
Panchami Shraddha - Those who have passed away before marriage should be remembered with Shraadh or respect. People should offer Shraadh to their ancestors who died on the fifth day of the month (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) of the Hindu solar calendar.
Shashthi Shraddha - It's called Chhath Shraadh. People should offer Shraadh to ancestors who died on the sixth day of the month (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) of the Hindu solar calendar.
Saptami Shraddha - People should offer Shraadh to their ancestors who died on the 7th day of the month (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) of the Hindu solar calendar.
Ashtami Shraddha - On the eighth day (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) of the Hindu solar calendar, people should offer Shraadh to their ancestors who died on that day.
Navami Shraddha - It is also known as Budhiya Navami or Matri Navami. People often give Shraadh to their deceased mothers or grandmothers as a way of honoring them. On this day, mourners give Shraadh to their deceased female relatives who have passed away. People should offer Shraadh to ancestors who died on the 9th day of the month (Shukla paksha/ Krishna paksha) of the Hindu solar calendar.
Dashami Shraddha - Forefathers who died on the 10th day of the Hindu solar calendar month (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) should be remembered with Shraadh.
Ekadashi Shraddha - Gyaras Shraadh is the name given to this practice. Forefathers who died on the 11th day of the Hindu solar calendar month (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) should be remembered with Shraadh.
Magha Shraddha, Dwadashi Shraddha - On this day, people should perform shradh to hermits and Saints ancestors. Forefathers who died on the 12th day of the Hindu solar calendar month (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) should be remembered with Shraadh.
Trayodashi Shraddha - It's known as Balabholni or Kakabli. On this day, mourners perform Shraadh for a deceased child. Those who died on the 13th day of the Hindu solar calendar month (Shukla Paksha/ Krishna Paksha) should be remembered with Shraadh.
Chaturdashi Shraddha - Ghaat Chaturdashi Shraadh or Ghayal Chaturdashi Shraadh is the two Names of this rite. If a person passes away on the 14th day of Shukla Paksha / Krishna Paksha, their Shraadh should be performed on that day. On this day, people should offer Shraadh to those who have died in tragic circumstances, such as car accidents, suicide, or homicide.
Sarva Pitru Amavasya - It is known as Pitra Amavasya Shraadh. Anyone who has forgotten the death date of his Pitra can perform Shraadh on this day. People who are unable to complete the 15-day Shraadh rituals may perform Shraadh on this day only.
When does Sorha Shraddha start in 2021?
Sohra Sraddha starts from 5th Ashwin 2078 ie 21st September 2021.
You can watch the video for more details on the Sorha Shraddha 2021.
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