Pitri Paksh or Shradh Paksha is a sixteen day period in the Hindu Calendar, when Hindus pay homage to their Pitrs (ancestors.)
According to the Hindu beliefs and traditions, the Ashwin Krishna Paksha in the Hindu calendar is dedicated to those ancestors, who have left for their heavenly abode.
And, it’s the religious duty of their family— sons, daughters and other close family members , to offer ‘Tarpan’ to the ancestors, so they achieve ‘Moksha’ or Salvation.
Besides ‘Tarpan’, various kinds of ‘daan’ (offerings) is also given, in the form of food, clothes, other essentials, or money.
‘Tarpan’ is performed on the same ‘Tithi’ when the ancestor had passed away, whether it was Krisna Paksha or Shukla Paksha, in any month.
‘Tarpan’ can be performed, by chanting mantras, guided by the pandit (priest) or by self, near river banks, temples, or even at homes.
But, for the final ‘Pind Daan’ there are many religious places assigned for this.
‘Teertha Sthal Gaya’ situated in the state of Bihar, India is considered to be the most revered and auspicious place for ‘Pind daan.’
The above picture is of the ancient and pious Banyan tree at Gaya, which has a deep religious significance.
The mighty Banyan tree is also called, ‘Akshay Vat’, which literally means, which can’t be destroyed.
The devotees believe in tying the sacred red thread, on the vast and widespread branches of the supporting roots, trees, all around the Banyan tree, for the fulfilment of their wishes, and to seek the blessings of the departed elders of the family.
Pitri Paksh ends on ‘Sarv Pitri Amavasya’, and immediately the ‘Matri Paksha’ or ‘Mahalya’ begins, followed by ‘Navratri.’
One of the most beautiful Indian festivals is Rakshabandhan.
This festival is about the special and pious bond, to celebrate the brother-sister relationship.
When the siblings are growing up together at their parents home, it is always about fun, sweets, gifts etc.
But, as we grow older, it’s unlikely the brother-sister will remain in the same city, or may be in the same country.
Yes, life takes the siblings to different directions, due to education, work, career, even marriage.
It’s then that the festival of Rakshabandhan becomes an emotional festival.
The sacred thread, which the sisters tie on the wrist of their brothers, to wish them happiness, prosperity, good health and all good wishes, can’t be done in the same way, as it was done in their childhood days.
So, there is a practice to send the colourful and auspicious Rakhis in envelopes, via post, or couriers, or even online.
That little small sacred thread, called Rakhi is symbolic of the pure and true love and the special bond, which the brother and sister share with each other.
If the brother is married, a special and beautiful Rakhi is also included for the sister-in-law.
Perhaps, it’s only in Indian culture and traditions, that the brother-sister relationship is celebrated in this beautiful manner.