About Magha Shraddha:
The ritual of Magha Shraddha is performed in honour of the ancestors and deceased family members during the ‘Pitru Paksha’ when the ‘Magha’ Nakshatra exists in Aparahna Kala. Magha Shraddha is observed on the ‘Amavasya’ day of Magha month. Magha Nakshatra during the Aparahna Kaal on the ‘Trayodashi’ (13th day) tithi is referred as ‘Magha Trayodashi Shraddha.’ The month of Magha is considered propitious for performing Pitru Tarpan, Snaan, Daan, and Yagna. The activities performed during Magha month are considered very meritorious and sacred. Devotees observe Magha Shraddha with devotion and dedication.
Significance of Magha Shraddha:
The importance of Pitru Paksha Shraddha and Magha Shraddha is mentioned in the ‘Matsya Purana.’ Magha Shraddha is an auspicious day of the Pitru Paksha. Magha Nakshatra is considered to be very significant. As per the legends, Magha nakshatra is ruled by ‘Pitrus,’ the spirits of departed ancestors. Performing the Tarpan rituals on the day of Magha Shraddha pleases the departed ancestor’s soul. It also has various religious merits. By performing Magha Shraddha rituals, the souls of departed ancestors can attain salvation and peace. Satisfied with the Tarpan and Pinda Daan, the ancestors bestow the blessings on their descendants.
Rituals and Celebrations:
Devotees wake up early on Magha Shraddha day. All the Shraddha rituals are performed by the male head in the family. The observer of the Magha Shraddha rituals must worship their ‘Ishta Deva’ followed by Pinda-Daan. In this ritual, a ‘pinda’ is formed from rice, ghee, cow’s milk, honey, and sugar. It is offered to the ancestors. Pinda Daan puja should be performed with full devotion and dedication as well as with respect for the deceased soul.
Tarpan is also an important ritual of Magha Shraddha. Water mixed with Kusha grass and black sesame seeds are offered to the departed ancestors. Tarpan ritual on Magha Shraddha appeases the ancestors. After completing the puja rituals, food and donations are offered to Brahmins. It is believed that the food consumed by priest goes to the deceased family members. On Magha Shraddha, there is a ritual to feed cows, crows and dogs. Varanasi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Gaya and Prayag are several sacred places to perform Magha shraddha. It is considered auspicious to worship Lord Shiva on this day as he is the one who gives rebirth to people and bring death to them. Worshiping Lord Shiva on this day provides peace to the souls of the dead.