The Hindu religion observes Pitru Paksha, a 16-day period dedicated to the veneration of ancestors. This sacred time involves remembering and honoring ancestors by offering food and water through priests or Brahmins. Pitru Paksha, also known as Shraddha Paksha, is considered highly significant in the Hindu tradition.
Shraddha Paksha Schedule According to Drik Panchang, Shraddha Paksha commences from Bhadrapada Purnima Tithi on 29 September 2023 and concludes on 14 October. During this period, the performance of Pind Daan, Tarpan, and Shraddha for ancestors is believed to bring peace to their souls and invoke their auspicious blessings.
The Ritual of Panchabali: Offering to Living Beings In Pitru Paksha, a ritual known as Panchabali is observed, involving the offering of five portions of food to specific living beings. These portions, symbolizing gratitude towards the five elements, are dedicated to cow, dog, ant, crows, and gods.
Offering Panchabali Correctly During Shraddha in Pitru Paksha, the ritual begins by making three offerings of food and burning the pot. Subsequently, food is divided into five parts and placed on leaves for cows, dogs, ants, and gods. A portion is left on the ground for crows. The prayer accompanying this act is for the ancestors to accept the offerings, be pleased, and bestow their blessings.
Symbolism and Gratitude Towards the Five Elements Hindu beliefs emphasize that during Pitru Paksha, ancestors manifest in the form of animals and birds like cow, dog, crow, ant, and gods. Each of these represents an element - cow symbolizes earth, dog represents water, ant signifies fire, crow embodies air, and gods represent the sky element. Offering five portions of food during Shraddha is seen as a way to express gratitude to these elements.