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Pitra Paksha, the days when we offer our gratitude to our ancestors has started from September 24 and will continue till October 8. Various rituals and a Shradh ceremony are performed for the salvation of the souls of the long-dead ancestors. Pinda Daan is the most important among the rituals performed besides the Pitra Dosha puja and Yagna. The Tithi on which the ancestor had died is considered the most auspicious to perform the ritual.
It is said that the ancestors who after their death went to the Pitra Loka, cannot feed themselves on their own. Their family members on earth should observe Pitra Paksha and perform all the necessary rituals as a duty towards them. Here is the entire procedure given on how you can invite your ancestors and observe their Shradh.
The Pitra Paksha Puja should be performed on the day when the ancestor had died. The auspicious time (which would remain same on all the sixteen days) for inviting the ancestors through this method would be from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Here is the Vidhi for Pitra Puja.
Pitra Puja Vidhi
Keep a wooden stool in the south direction. Cover it with a white cloth. Spread some black sesame seeds and barley seeds on it. Place an image of your ancestor on it. Kusha grass can also be used in the place of the image as this grass is believed to contain Vishnu particles in it.
Now you have to invite the ancestor or ancestors whom you have dedicated this puja to, by calling their name (along with the surname) as - '' We, the entire family invite you to our home during this period of Pitra Paksha.'' After this, take a copper or a bronze utensil and fill it with water. Add some milk to it (raw milk of cow). You have to add sesame seeds, barley and rice also into it and place it before the image.
Now prepare rice and add milk, honey and gangajal. Now, using this rice, prepare a ball and place it before the image or images of the ancestors, keeping it on a leaf. This ball is known as Pinda which is also used in Pinda Daan. When the ritual has been finally completed, you can offer this rice ball to a cow. You can also immerse it in water if there is a river nearby.
Another Ritual That You Can Perform
If you are not able to perform this ritual, you can perform another method mentioned below.
Make a roti and put some ghee and jaggery on it. Offer it before the image of the ancestors. Do this every day and then offer the roti to a cow.
Besides this puja and offerings, you should also invite a priest and offer food to him on this day. After the feast you should also offer clothes to the priests.
Jaggery And Ghee Offering
Before offering the food to the priests, burn a cow dung cake and when it is almost burnt completely, pour some ghee and place a small piece of jaggery on it. This is another form of offering to the ancestors. If the jaggery is completely burnt, it is said that the ancestors have eaten it.