The Indian calendar is lunar based, unlike the Gregorian calendar. The observances during each month are usually spiritual or religious based and rooted in deep tradition.
Today marks the beginning of weeks of Pitru Paksha (Pitt-true Puck-shuh), or Shraadh, which is a time dedicated to honoring our ancestors. It’s a time of remembrance and of offering our gratitude. Indians participate in special rituals and rites during this time. There are specific chants and mantras which are recited during this period.
This is a time when individuals focus on their spiritual practices and meditation. It is typically not a time to commence new ventures or enter into new agreements. Air travel should also be minimized as much as possible, unless it is for spiritual purposes (i.e. a pilgrimage).
Families pay homage to relatives who have passed on and they do so on the specific phase of the moon (the tithi) which coincides with the day that the person left his/ her body. Special meals are also prepared for these days, according to tradition.
Pitru Paksha commences on the first day of the waxing (dark phase) Moon in the Vedic lunar month of Bhadrapada each year. Pitru Paksha continues through the 26th of this month.