Mahalaya Paksha (15 Days of Ancestors)
Mahalaya Paksha or Pitru Paksha is the 15-day period, considered sacred to perform Tarpanam rituals to our ancestors and relieve their souls from the cycle of birth and death. It is believed that our ancestral souls reach the earth plane to receive our offerings and shower their immense blessings upon us. According to sacred texts, there are specific dos and don’ts that you must follow during this significant fortnight of ancestors.
How to Offer Tarpanam?
Tarpanam rituals have to be performed by the male head, eldest son or in other cases any male member of the family. After taking a bath, the one who performs the ritual should wear a ring made of Dharba grass. Here, Dharba grass denotes benevolence and helps in invoking our ancestors. Then, Pind Daan is offered – Pind – rice, sesame seeds and balls made of barley flour are offered.
Then Lord Vishnu’s blessings are invoked with Darbha grass – which represents unimpeded growth and helps to remove obstacles in your path. You can offer food to crows, which are considered as Yama’s messengers. Also, you need to provide food to Brahmins, after which the family members can eat.
You can also read sacred texts such as Garuda Purana, Agni Purana and the stories of Nachiketa and Ganga Avataram. Perform all the rituals whole-heartedly and with sincerity & devotion.