Vaishali A. Patel
Pitrupaksh / Shraadh
Do you know what Pitrupaksh or Shraadh is?
If you grew up in a Gujarati home, chances are you saw your elders or parents offering "Kheer" and "puri" to crows once a year in the memory of your ancestors and grandparents who have passed on.
This 16-day period right before Navratri is dedicated to remembering and thanking our immediate ancestors.
In this time we also thank all the sages, saints and rushis who dedicated their lives to learning, guiding and making the human existence better.
In India, during this time, people feed the crows (one belief is that your ancestors come back in the form of crow to eat their favorite meals one more time) and a group of Brahmins to satisfy and thank their ancestors.
This idea of showing gratitude to all living and dead beings is embedded in our culture.
What is a better way to thank our parents, grandparents and ancestors who have passed on than embodying the ways, values, and beliefs they taught us? I also think this is good in order to lead a kind, compassionate and loving life.
Time may have taken our loved ones away, but they live on through their words, values and teachings. This is a time of reflection and remembrance. Feeding others is a great way to show your compassion.
I don't know if the message goes to our loved ones or not by simply feeding others, but I do know its one more opportunity to show compassion to those living beings around us.
How does your family celebrate this time of Shraadh or Pitrupaksh? Do you do happy things or do you mourn?
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