What is the Hindu Shraddha ceremony?
As per the religion of Hindus, Shraddha Ceremony is an important ritual and is generally a day of remembrance. Rituals and ceremonies are performed to pay homage to one’s ancestors, especially the lost parents. The Shraddha rites are conducted so that the journey of our parents after the demise is comfortable and stress-free. It is a way of expressing gratitude for what they are and for praying for the lost parent’s peace.
According to the Hindu calendar, the Hindu shraddha ceremony rituals are performed for both mother and father separately on their respective “thithi.” During the Pitru Paksha or Shraddha Paksha, ceremonies are performed for the entire community of “Pitr.”
How to perform Shraddha Rites?
The period of Shraddha extends for around 15 days right before Sharad Navaratri in autumn. The Karta performs the shraddha rituals by inviting the Brahmanas and worshiping and feeding them. To protect and nourish the ancestors a fire ritual called the “homa” is performed, and then balls of rice are offered to the departed souls. The offerings are made to three generations, and all the rituals must be performed with devotion, whole-heartedness, and respect towards the deceased. Following the offerings, the ceremony is concluded by extending hospitality to the Brahmanas and giving Dakshina (fees).
There are many people in the community such as funeral service providers who assist in performing all the rituals of Shraddha.
What are the Rituals of the Hindu Shraddha Ceremony?
All the rituals of shraddha rites will be performed by the Karta.
- Invite Brahmanas to worship and feed them
- Perform the fire ritual (Home) appeasing the Agni which will transmit the offerings to your beloved ancestors
- Perform Pinda Pradaana by offering rice balls to departed souls
- Further to extend hospitality and get blessings, the Karta gives Dakshana(fees) to the Brahmanas
What to do if you can’t perform all the rituals of the Shraddha Ceremony?
In case one may not be able to perform the proper rituals of the Hindu shraddha Ceremony due to lack of time or other unforeseen reasons, one can simply throw some sesame seeds in flowing water and then offer sesame to Brahmanas. This act is considered to be auspicious. During this period offering food to animals and birds is a charitable thing to do. Feed cows and crows in Pitru Paksha. Making donations of food, clothes and utensils also help in completing the rituals of homage.
Shraddha rites are considered very important during the first year of demise because it gives the soul momentum allowing it to move to a higher region.