Honoring Our Ancestors

There are so many holidays these days that you can find on a calendar or for which you can send someone a greeting card or e-card. There are months or weeks to honor different charities or medical causes or ethnicities. And retailers often capitalize on any holiday to get the consumer to shop.

All these holidays focus on outward activities and often expenses.  You never see a “Meditation Day” as a holiday.

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.

We have just begun two weeks of Pitru Paksha (Pitt-true Puck-shuh), 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 do so on the specific phase of the moon 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 continues until the 28th of this month.