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Pitru Paksha 2018 dates - Pitrapaksha Dedicated to Dead Parents - Pitra Visarjan in 2018

Pitru Paksha based on Hindu calendar – India Standard Time. Pitru Paksha 2018 begins on September 25 to October 9, 2018. Below are the Mahalaya Pitra Visarjan and Pitrapaksha 2018 dates for Uttar Pradesh (UP), Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha (it is known as Apara Paksha), Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Goa, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

In Hinduism, Pitru Paksha is the rituals performed by relatives for the departed souls of dead ancestors, parents and relatives. Tarpan and Shradh are performed on all Amavasi or no moon days. But the most important period to perform Shradh is the Pitru Paksha period during the Krishna Paksha fortnight in Ashwin month (September – October). In some regions this period is the Bhadrapad Krishna Paksha.

Annual Fortnight Shradh Rituals

Pitru Paksha 2018 dates

September 25, 2018 – Purnima Shradh
September 25, 2018 – Pratipada Shradh (Pratipada Shradh, also known Dehhitr Pratipada Shraddh, is the first day of the Shraddh during the Pitru Paksha period in Ashwin month in traditional calendar in North India. )
September 26, 2018– Dwitiya Shradh 
September 27 – Tritiya Shradh
September 28 – Chaturthi Shradh
September 29 – Panchami Shradh
September 30 – Shasti Shradh
October 1 – Saptami Shradh
October 2, 2018 – Ashtami Shradh
October 3 – Navami Shradh (Avidhwa Navami) - Avidhava Navami Shradh - For women who passed when there husbands were alive.
October 4 – Dasami Shradh
October 5– Ekadashi Shradh
October 6 – Dwadashi Shradh
October 6, 2018 – Trayodashi Shradh
October 7, 2018 – Chaturdashi Shradh
October 8, 2018 – Mahalaya Amavasi – Most important day of Shradh - On this day Shradh can be performed without looking date, tithi, nakshatra etc - it is known as Sarva Pitru Shradh and (Pitra Visarjan).

Note - Dwadashi and Trayodasi Shradh are marked on same date October 6, 2018 in calendars followed in western parts of India.

Please note that Amavasya is on October 9 but as majority tithi is on Oct 8, Mahalaya will be observed on October 8.

Rules during Shradh Period – Dos and Don’ts during Pitri Paksha Shradh Fortnight

These dos and don’ts are primarily followed in North, West and Eastern parts of India and it is to be followed for a fortnight – 15 days starting from Krishna Paksha Pratipada to Mahalaya Amavasya.
  • The person performing shradh should not smoke, eat pan, drink alcohol, have sexual intercourse and get a massage.
  • The person should not undertake long distance journey.
  • The person should eat only that is served first. He/she should not take a second serving.
  • The person should avoid arguments and fights.
  • The person should not invite more than three relatives.
  • The person performing Shradh should not be truthful. Avoid lying and taking part in business deals. 

Importance of Pitru Paksha Shraddh – Annual Rituals to Dead Ancestors

Shradh offered during Pitru Paksh (dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha) in the month of Ashwin (September – October) is of great importance in Hindu religion. Shraddh is the ceremonies and rituals performed for the departed souls of dead ancestors. It is believed that the souls will attain peace by the Shraddh rituals performed during the fortnight.

As per Hindu teachings, the Shraddh performed on Ashwin Pitru Paksha reaches the ancestors immediately and their souls will rest in peace. Hindu Puranas are full of details about Shraddh, especially Agni Purana, Garuda Purana and Matysa Purana. It is Yama, the god of death in Hindu mythology, who explained the importance of Shraddh performed on Pitru Paksha.

According to Matysa Pura, Agni, Vasus and Rudras act as intermediaries during Pitru Paksha Shraddh and take the rituals and food offered to ancestors. The ancestors bless those performing the ritual. In some places, the last day of the Shraddh is of great importance. The ritual is usually conducted near temples or on river banks.

The Shraddh or rituals performed during this period benefits all the dead ancestors. It is believed by Hindus that all the sinful acts committed by the dead will be cleansed by the shraddh. Those departed souls who do not receive Shraddh are said to wander aimlessly on Earth.

Pitru Paksha Shraddh is also offered by people to ancestors whose death dates they have forgotten. To relatives who had no children and who met with violent death like accidents or murder. Those people who failed to perform the annual shraddh (performed on the death date) also offer Shraddh during Pitru Paksha.

The customs and rituals performed during Pitru Paksha Shraddh vary regionally. Some people fast on the day. Some people observe specific customs like abstaining from non-vegetarian food during the fortnight and some do not cut their hair or shave.

The rituals are usually performed under the guidance of a learned person or priest.

Bharani Shradh - Maha Bharani Shradh

Bharani Shradhha, or Bharni Shradh, is observed when the Bharani Nakshatra or asterism falls during the Pitru Paksha Shradh fortnight. It usually falls on the Chaturthi (fourth) or Panchami (fifth) day of the Pitru Paksha Shradhha rituals. Bharani Shradh 2018 date is on September 28.

Bharani Shradh is performed for those relatives and parents that had passed away during the current year.

The ritual is performed with the help of a priest on a riverbank or seashore.

Apara Paksha in Odisha

Apara Paksha is observed during the Krishna Paksha of Bhadrab month in Odisha. Apara Paksha is dedicated to observing Shradh rituals for dead relatives, parents and ancestors. It is observed for 15-days and begins the day after the Purnima or full moon day in Bhadrab month. In 2018, Apara Paksha begins on September 25 and ends on October 8 with Mahalaya rituals.

In all regions in India, except in South India, this particular period of year is dedicated to offering rites and rituals to the ancestors. There is a belief that the rites offered to the dead during this period reach them soon and their souls will rest in peace.


Gajachayai

Gajachayai is observed annually during the Mahalayam fortnight which falls before Ashwin Navratri (September – October). Gajachayai 2018 date is October 7. It is observed on the Krishna Paksha Trayodasi or the thirteenth day. This day is chosen by those people who do not perform paksha mahalyam – rituals on all 15 days. This fortnight is popularly known as Pitru Paksha Shradh.

Observing one day Shradham is known as Sakrun Mahalayam. Sakrun Mahalayam is in addition to the Amavasya Shradh, which should be performed by all people.

The importance of Gajachayai is that one need not worry about tithi, vara, Nakshatra and other doshas and can perform the ritual.

What If I Could Not Perform or Do Shradh During Pitru Paksha Period?

If you could not perform or do shradh during pitru paksha period then you can do it before Kartik month as per traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India.

Shradh occurs during Ashwin Krishna Paksha in North India calendar. The corresponding period in other regions is the Bhadrapad Krishna Paksha.

If you could not perform the Shradh during the pitru paksha period, then you can perform it before Kartik Month ends.

Related
A Complete Guide to Shradh Rituals in Hinduism in Different Period in a Year