Pratipada Shraddha or Padwa Shraddha is observed on ‘the first day of the ‘Shukla Paksha’ in the ‘Bhadrapada’ month. According to the Purnimant Calendar, it falls in the month of ‘Ashwin.’ Pratipada Shraddha is the first day of the Pitru Paksha that ends with ‘Mahalaya Shraddha.’ Pratipada Shraddha is observed for the family members who have died on the Pratipada or Padyami Tithi in the Krishna Paksha or Shukla Paksha. Shraddha is an annual ceremony which is performed to satisfy the ancestors. The term Shraddha is derived from "Sraddhayaa Deeyate Yasmath," meaning something done with deep faith. The shraddha ritual includes Havana, Arghya (offering of water), Pindadhan, Dakshina, feeding of Brahmins, Vikira and Tarpana.
Significance of Pratipada Shraddha:
Shraddha is one of the important ritual observed in Hinduism for the dead ancestors. Shraddha rituals are mentioned in several religious texts such as ‘Matsya Puran,’ ‘Garuda Purana’ and ‘Agni Purana.' Tarpan and Pind-Daan rituals are performed to offer peace to the deceased people. It offers liberation from the cycle of birth and death and helps them to attain salvation. Kashi, Gaya, Prayag Sangam, Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Rameshwaram are the pilgrimage places for performing the Pratipada Shraddha. Pratipada Shraddha can be performed for those who don't have any male offspring, irrespective of the day on which the person died. Pratipada day is considered to be inauspicious. Observing Pratipada Shraddha rituals brings prosperity and happiness.
Varaha Purana mentions the origin of Shraddh. Nimi was the son of Sage Atreya. Nimi had a son who practised meditation for many years. Eventually, he died. Nimi was inconsolable due to the death of his son. He was sad and restless. He invited Brahmins to his home and offered them the food which his son loved. Sage Narada visited his home and saw the witnessed the ritual. Sage Narad assured him that he had done nothing wrong. He should remember his ancestors with faith. Nimi performed the Shraddh rituals. His ancestors blessed him. Since then, the ritual of Shraddha came into existence.
Pratipada Shraddha rituals involve offering Tarpan to the dead ancestors. It is a ritual of paying homage to ancestors. All the rituals are performed by the eldest male of the family. After Tarpan, Pind-Daan is performed, and the offerings are either given to a cow or immersed in a river. Pratipada Shraddha is performed, during the appropriate time so that the prasad can be consumed during the afternoon time. After the completion of the rituals, the food is first offered to a Brahmin and later consumed by all family members. Charity is done on Pratipada Shraddha for the deceased ancestors.
Several people observe a fast. During Pitru Paksha period, non-vegetarian food and drinking alcohol are prohibited. Shaving or cutting hair is also prohibited. Shraddh ceremony is performed near the temple or on the bank of a river. Shraddha is performed by the eldest male member of the family. The member performing the rituals needs to wear Dhoti and a ring made of Kusha grass. Also, he must have gone through the sacred-thread tradition. Tarpana is the offerings that are made to the Gods and the ancestors. Pinda-Daan is an important part of the Shraddh ceremony. Rice balls, ghee, and barley are offered to the ancestors. Brahmins are fed with meal and donations are also made to them. Offering food to cow, crow, and dog is also considered auspicious on the day of Shraddh.