Pitru Paksha is an extremely important event that occurs once a year. People offer prayers, food, and clothes to please the departed souls. It is vital to follow the Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi properly. If anything goes wrong it would seriously affect the person performing the rituals and also the souls would suffer.
Things to be kept in mind while performing the Pitru Paksha Puja:
1. It is preferred that the Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi be performed next to a water body be it a beach or a river bank. That is why cities like Gaya, Allahabad, Puri, Rameshwaram, Varanasi, Badrinath etc are considered best suitable.
2. Thread ceremony of the person should be complete before he sits for the puja. The person performing the vidhi should take a dip in the holy river and should be in a cool and calm state.
3. One must perform the puja before noon. Prayers in the evening, at dusk and at night are strictly not allowed.
4. Well-read Brahmins must be called to do the proper Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi.
5. The food must include some sweet like kheer or halwa, according to Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi. Other food items include pindas (balls made of rice and barley), ghee, fruits, sweetmeats, rice, and vegetables.
6. One must preferably use cow’s milk for the puja. For correct Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi, the food must be prepared in silver or copper vessels. One must not use iron utensils.
7. Food must be served on banana leaves.
8. One must not forget using basil leaves while performing Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi. If the puja is done incorporating basil, the ancestors bless the family with longevity, wealth, health and good fortune.
9. Ganga jal, honey, yoghurt and sesame seeds too hold a sacred status in the rituals according to Pitru Paksha Puja Vidhi.
10. Later, Brahmins must consume the food facing South direction and eat it in absolute silence as till the time the Brahmins eat quietly the ancestors will enjoy the food.
11. Once the Brahmins are done with their food, Puja Vidhi demands that the food is shared with crows which represent the deceased ancestors. This sharing of food ensures that good karma is earned.
11. After the food has been consumed by the animals, only then can the family members and the invited extended family must eat.
12. Mahadakshina in the form of clothes and money should be offered to the needy people. This ensures a good karmic connection between the ancestors’ souls and the present generation.