Hindu Shraadh period: 5 do's and don'ts to follow during Pitru Paksha

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Here are a few do's and don'ts to be followed during Pitru Paksha or the Hindu Shraadh period.

Every year Hindus across India observe the Shraadh or Pitru Paksha period that usually is observed for sixteen days during the autumn months of September and October. Religious scriptures say that the Pitru Paksha period is observed to pay respects and homage to the ancestors.

This is why many people also refer to it as the "mourning period" and there are a few dos and don'ts that should be followed during Pitru Paksha.

Pitru Paksha begins on the last full moon day of the Hindi calendar month of Bhadrapad. During this 16-day period, Hindus perform pind puja, which is known as Shraad for their ancestorsThis year, the Pitru Paksha period ends on September 30.

Do's and don'ts to follow during Pitru Paksha

The day of the Shraadh is usually decided by the pandit or priest, keeping in mind the death anniversary of the ancestor for whom the Shraadh has to be performed. Pooja is then conducted in the house and special satvik bhojan is prepared to honour the soul of the dead.

Some of the prasaad is then fed to animals such as crows, dogs and cats as it is said that ancestors usually visit their homes in the form of these animals.

There are many rules and customs that Hindus follow during this period as a sign of respect for their ancestors. People are also advised not to perform certain things during this period.

Here are a few do's and don'ts that must be followed during Pitru Paksha:

1. Never refuse water or food to anyone, even a stranger

It is said that your ancestors usually visit your house during the Pitru Paksha, which is why you should never refuse water or food to anyone visiting your house, even a stranger.

Continue reading on the next page to read about other do's and don'ts to follow during Pitru Paksha

2. Hurt animals such as cows, dogs, cats and crows

Among other do's and don'ts to follow during Pitru Paksha to be followed the one that is strictly adhered to is not to hurt animals during this period.

Animals particularly crows, cats and dogs are offered the Pitru prasaad after the Shraadh and this is the reason why Hindus are asked never to hurt them during the Pitru Paksha period.

3. Consume meat and meat products

Hindu scriptures also say that meat and meat products including eggs should not be consumed during the Shraadh period. Pure satvik food which is bereft of meat and even onions and garlic should be consumed by Hindus during this period. However, some people do not follow this ritual anymore.

4. Cut your nails or shave

Since Pitru Paksha is considered to be a mourning period for the dead, grooming activities such as cutting your nails, shaving your beard or cutting your hair is strictly prohibited in many households.

5. Buy new clothes, jewellery, cars and property

Many Hindus also refrain from buying anything new during this period including jewellery, new clothes, new properties and even cars! This is done in order to pay respect to the dead and also to renounce any celebration during this time.

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