Mahalaya amavasya, also called Sarvapitri Amavasya, Pitra Moksha Amavasya or Pitru Amavasya is a Hindu tradition dedicated to the ‘pitrs’ or ancestors. It is observed on the amavasya (new moon day) of the ‘Bhadrapada’ month, as per the Amavasyant calendar that is followed in South India.

In North India where the Purnimant calendar is used, it falls during the month of ‘Ashwin’ and during the months of September-October in the Gregorian calendar. Mahalaya Amavasya is the last day of the 15-day long Shraddha rituals. This day is considered to be most auspicious as the shraddha ritual of any deceased person can be performed on this day, irrespective of the tithi.

Mahalaya Amavasya 2020 is on September 17, Thursday

5 months and 11 days to go for the event

Image Source: IANS

Mahalaya amavasya tharpanam or tarpan and rituals are performed to invoke the blessings of the ancestors and seek their blessings for a peaceful and prosperous life. Mahalaya amavasya is observed on the last of the Pitr Paksha, the ‘fortnight of the ancestors’ and is also the most significant day of this period. In Bengal it is observed as ‘Mahalaya’ that marks the beginning of the grand Durga puja celebrations. This day also symbolizes the descent of Goddess Durga on Earth. This day is celebrated with the objective to pay honour and respect to the ancestors with immense devotion and fervour. Mahalaya amavasya marks the beginning of Bathukamma festival in the state of Telangana.

Image Source: IANS

Hindus offering water to the soul of their deceased ancestors on the banks of Ganges in Kolkata and at various places across West Bengal on the occasion of the Mahalaya on Oct. 4, 2013.

Rituals during Mahalaya amavasya:

  • On this day, the tarpan and shraddha rituals are observed for those deceased family members who died on the ‘chaturdashi’, ‘amavasya’ or ‘purnima’ tithi.
  • On the day of Pitra Moksha Amavasya, the observer gets up early and finishes the morning rituals. They wear yellow clothes on this day and invite a Brahmin to their house. The shraddha ceremony is observed by the eldest male in the family.
  • As the Brahmin comes, the observer of the ritual washes their feet and provides them a clean place to sit. In Hindu scriptures there is specific direction for seating. Deva Paksha Brahmin are seated facing east, while Pitra Paksha and Matru Paksha Brahmin are seated facing the northern direction.
  • On the Mahalaya Amavasya the ancestors or ‘pitrs’ are worshipped with dhoop, diya and flowers. A blend of water and barley is also offered to please the forefathers. A sacred thread is worn on the right shoulder and a splint is offered as donation. Special food is prepared for this event and offered to the Brahmins after finishing the puja rituals. Sesame seeds are also sprinkled at the floor where the Brahmins are seated.
  • This day is celebrated in honour of the ancestors and the members of the family spend the day in their remembrance. Mantras are recited to invoke the blessings of ancestors. On this day, people thank their ancestors who have contributed for their life. They also ask apology from their forefathers and pray that their souls rest in peace.

Important Timings On Mahalaya Amavasya

SunriseSeptember 17, 2020 6:17 AM
SunsetSeptember 17, 2020 6:24 PM
Amavasya Tithi Begins September 16, 2020 7:57 PM
Amavasya Tithi EndsSeptember 17, 2020 4:30 PM
Aparahna Kaal September 17, 1:33 PM - September 17, 3:59 PM
Kutup Muhurat September 17, 11:56 AM - September 17, 12:45 PM
Rohina Muhurat September 17, 12:45 PM - September 17, 1:33 PM
Place : Ujjain [ India ] See More
Image Source: IANS

People perform rituals on Mahalaya on the banks of Hooghly river in Kolkata, on Oct 12, 2015.

Significance of Mahalaya amavasya dedication to ancestors:

The rituals of Mahalaya amavasya are performed to receive blessings, welfare and prosperity. The observer of this ritual also receives blessings from Lord Yama and their families are protected from all the evils.

It is revealed in the Hindu scriptures that if a person fails to observe the shraddha of their ancestors during the first 15 days or the death date is not known, then the ‘tarpan’ on their behalf can be observed on the day of ‘Sarvapitra Moksha Amavasya’. On the day of Mahalaya amavasya it is believed that the forefathers and ancestors visit their home and if their shraddha ritual is not observed on their behalf, they return unhappily.

In the Astrological science it is mentioned that if the ancestors commit any mistakes, it is reflected in their children’s horoscope as ‘Pitra Dosh’. As an outcome they suffer from bad experiences in their life. The souls of these ancestors do not attain salvation and so wander in search of peace.

However by performing the shraddha rituals on the Mahalaya Amavasya, this ‘Pitru Dosh’ can be removed and also provide salvation to the deceased soul. The ancestors in turn bless their family and grant them all the happiness in life. The shraddha rituals performed on the pitra moksha amavasya day is considered as sacred and peaceful as those observed in Gaya, the holy city known for performing such rites.

Mahalaya Amavasya festival dates between 2017 & 2027

YearDate
2017Tuesday, 19th of September
2018Monday, 8th of October
2019Saturday, 28th of September
2020Thursday, 17th of September
2021Wednesday, 6th of October
2022Sunday, 25th of September
2023Saturday, 14th of October
2024Wednesday, 2nd of October
2025Sunday, 21st of September
2026Saturday, 10th of October
2027Wednesday, 29th of September

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