Anant Chaturdashi is followed by Pitru Paksh / Mahalaya Paksh ....commonly know as SHRADDHAM.or SHRADDH.PAKSH which is generally observed for 14 days in the month of Ashwin as per North Indian calendar . In olden days Shraddh was called as KANAAD( KANYA + AAGAD ) as the Sun enters Kanya or Virgo Rashi when Pitru Paksh starts. During this period Sun is very close to Earth .

Every Hindu should perform Sharaddh of their ancestors.....According to the Vedic Scriptures after death, the soul either gets Salvation ( Moksh ) or gets new birth according to his Karma or his soul wonders as ghost or as unsatisfied aatma troubling his or her beloved ones. As per the scriptures , food ...clothes & money given during Pitru Paksh to Brahmin in the name of our ancestors who are no longer with us is accepted by them( Purvaj ) where ever they are......this is because when the Brahmin eats the food which we offer to him in the name of our dead ancestors ...the heat ( fire ) in the stomach of Brahmin digests the food..... As we all know that fire is element of Sun & therefore the Sun gets the food & eventually our ancestor gets his or her meal where ever they are & in which ever gati they are.

It is believed that when we offer food ,clothes & money during Pitru Paksh to Brahmin for our Purvaj who have got Moksh than the food ...clothes & money which we offered to them comes back to us as their blessings in the form of prosperity happiness.....offspring.....success .....fame etc......However it is important to note that the vice- versa is also true.....& it if the ancestor is an unsatisfied soul than not performing his or her Shraddh brings several troubles in life.....Therefore it must to perform Shraddh.

Shraddh must be performed carefully as slight mistake due to ignorance can make the Pitru unhappy . It is important to note that no vegetable or spice with strong or pungent smell should be used in the preparation of Shraadh ka Bhojan . Mustard & Asafoetida(DEVIL'S DUNG ) commonly known as Hing should not be added in the Pitru food . Oil , Garlic , Onion , Bottle Gourd ( Lauki / Dudhi) are some of the vegetables which are tabooed ( Varjit ) for Pitru Bhojan.Apart from this Leavened Bread ( Pav ) , Biscuits or bakery products are not used . However use of Black Gram ( Urad Dal ) is must in Pitru Food . It can be used in Kajori ...or as Imarti or as Dal ......

There are also other minor few things need to be followed during the day of Shraddh of our dead ancestors . Males should not shave until the Brahmin has eaten food & left for the day , Cow , Crow & Dog should be fed ...., daughter/ daughters who are married should be invited with her husband for the Bhojan on that day , the Brahmin should be sent contented & must be given money along with clothes . Until the Brahmin has left the house no clothes to be washed & no toilets to be cleaned as it is believed that water which is used for cleaning & washing goes to the Ancestors & they get annoyed . Also the mother or the wife or any other person who is elder to the person whose Sharradh is being performed should not eat that food.

According to me Shraddh is a very important Hindu ritual which should be performed by every Hindu without fail every year for the peace of soul of our ancestors , also for the well being of our offspring .....& last but not least when we die we too get food offered to us by our descendents .