Sarva Pitru Mahalaya Amavasya is the last and the most significant day of the 15-day long Pitru Paksha. According to the Hindu religion, it is widely believed that a person should repay three types of Rinas or debts to attain life without any sufferings. The three Rinas are Deva Rina, Rishi Rina and Pitru Rina which is debt to God, guru and ancestors.
This is an event to perform rites for the departed ancestors to keep their souls indebted for years. The importance of these rites and rituals are mentioned in the Purans namely, the Garud Puran, Vayu Puran, Agni Puran, Matsya Puran and Markandeya Puran. That’s why Sarva Pitru Amavasya is also known as Sarva Pitru Moksha Amavasya.
Sarva Pitru Amavasya day is designated as Ancestor’s Day. It is observed on Friday, 30th September 2016, on new moon day of Ashwin month as per the Hindu lunar calendar.
Sarva Pitru Moksha Amavasya is performed to invoke the blessings of the ancestors and seek their blessings for a peaceful and prosperous life. The word ‘Sarva Pitru‘ in Hindi means ‘all forefathers’ and ‘Amavasya‘ refers to ‘new moon day’. Therefore Sarva Pitru Moksha Amavasya is observed on the last of the Pitru Paksha, the ‘fortnight of the ancestors’ and is also the most significant day of this period. This day is considered to be most propitious as the shraadh ritual of any deceased person can be performed on this day, irrespective of the tithi.
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. Everyone must pay respects to their ancestors. The Hindus believe that 15 days in a year our ancestors visit us every day from sunrise to sunset in hope of receiving offerings from us. Offerings of water and sesame seeds, quenches their hunger and thirst and in return for this, they shower multitude blessings on us. Also the doors of Vishnu-Lok remain open for all Pitrus for 15 days in a year during Pitru-Paksha.
Sarva Pitru Mahalaya Amavasya marks the formal beginning of the Durga Pooja festival. The Mahalya Amavasya is the day when Goddess Durga descends on the Earth.