Purnima Shraddha & Pitru Paksha, 24 September 2018

The Sanskrit word ‘Purnima’ means the full moon. Purnima is also spelt Poornima. The Sanskrit word ‘Shraddha’ or ‘Shradh’ means the holy performance of any act, activity, sacred ritual, tribute etc with honesty, faith, and belief. Shraddha is a sacred ceremony, the time of the year dedicated in commemoration of the deceased parents, forefathers and ancestors.

These Sanskrit words are prominent in India and Nepal, especially in the religious, astrological and spiritual contexts and followings. Both the words collectively, Purnima Shraddha is the holy Hindu event, a ritual, service that is mainly performed as an anniversary of remembrance and prayers to the dead ancestors on this day, to the ancestors who died on Purnima day.

Purnima Shraddha is also called Shraddha Purnima and Prostapadi Purnima Shraddha. Prostapadi means the day of the full moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada. Purnima Shraddha falls on the 24th of September in 2018.

The Purnima Paksha date, Tithi, is best reflected in a Hindu lunar calendar. It falls in the Krishna Paksha of the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada period. Krishna Paksha is the waning-decreasing phase of the moon in the fortnight. Purnima Shraddha falls one day before Pitru Paksha.

Another holy Hindu event is the Pitru Paksha at this time, vis-à-vis, after the Purnima Shraddha. Pitru Paksha is also spelt Pitri Paksha. Pitru means ancestors. Paksha means the fortnight. This event is also observed in remembrance, the homage to the deceased ancestors. It is also referred to as the fortnight of the ancestors. It is a longer 16-day observance.  However, Purnima Shraddha and Pitru Paksha observances are different and independent of each other.

The dates of Pitru Paksha in 2018 are from the 24th of September to the 8th of October. It starts after Purnima Shraddha.

This is a time to remember the ancestors and parents. It also marks the time to thank and to be grateful to them. There is food offering on the occasion. Many natives hold prayer ceremonies. Many visit holy sites like Haridwar, Gaya etc. Many natives observe Vrat, fast.

The Hindu month of Bhadrapada is also dedicated to worship of Lord Vishnu.

A Mantra for Lord Vishnu is—

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय

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