The Significance of Sarva Pitru Amavasya in Hindu Traditions

Sarva Pitru Amavasya, also known as Mahalaya Amavasya, is a significant day in Hindu traditions. It is observed on the new moon day in the Hindu month of Ashwin, which falls in September or October according to the Gregorian calendar. This day is dedicated to honoring and paying homage to one’s ancestors, both paternal and maternal, and seeking their blessings for prosperity, success, and happiness.

The word “Sarva Pitru” translates to “all ancestors” in Sanskrit, emphasizing the importance of remembering and honoring all those who have passed away in one’s lineage. It is believed that on this day, the spirits of the ancestors descend to the earth plane to bless their descendants and receive offerings and prayers from them.

The Significance of Sarva Pitru Amavasya

1. Ancestral Blessings: The main purpose of observing Sarva Pitru Amavasya is to seek the blessings of one’s ancestors for protection, guidance, and prosperity. It is believed that by performing rituals and offering prayers on this day, the ancestors are pleased and shower their blessings on their descendants.

2. Clearing Ancestral Karma: Hindus believe in the concept of karma, which states that our actions in this life will have consequences in future lives. It is believed that by honoring and remembering one’s ancestors, the negative karma of the ancestors can be mitigated, leading to a more peaceful and prosperous life for the living descendants.

3. Strengthening Family Bonds: Sarva Pitru Amavasya is also a time for families to come together and remember their ancestors. It helps in strengthening family bonds and fostering a sense of unity and belonging among the family members. By honoring the ancestors together, families can create a sense of shared history and tradition.

4. Expressing Gratitude: Observing Sarva Pitru Amavasya is a way of expressing gratitude to the ancestors for their sacrifices and contributions to the family lineage. It is a way of acknowledging the debt of gratitude that one owes to their ancestors and showing respect for their legacy.

5. Seeking Protection: It is believed that by honoring the ancestors on Sarva Pitru Amavasya, one can seek their protection and guidance in times of need. The ancestors are considered to be divine beings who can intervene on behalf of their descendants and provide them with divine blessings and protection.

Rituals and Customs

On Sarva Pitru Amavasya, Hindus perform various rituals and customs to honor their ancestors. Some of the common practices observed on this day include:

1. Tarpan: Tarpan is the ritual of offering water to the ancestors by pouring it into a vessel while reciting prayers and mantras. It is believed that by offering water, the ancestors are appeased and their blessings are sought.

2. Pinda Daan: Pinda Daan is the ritual of offering cooked rice balls to the ancestors as a symbolic gesture of feeding them. It is believed that by offering food to the ancestors, their souls are satisfied and they bless their descendants with prosperity and well-being.

3. Visiting Ancestral Sites: Many people visit ancestral sites such as graves, burial grounds, or temples dedicated to ancestors on Sarva Pitru Amavasya. They offer prayers, flowers, and incense at these sites to pay their respects to their ancestors.

4. Charity and Donation: It is considered auspicious to perform acts of charity and donation on Sarva Pitru Amavasya. By giving to the less fortunate, one can earn the blessings of the ancestors and accumulate good karma for themselves.

5. Fasting: Some people observe a fast on Sarva Pitru Amavasya as a way of purifying their body and mind and seeking the blessings of the ancestors. Fasting is believed to enhance the spiritual significance of the day and create a deeper connection with the ancestors.


Q: Can non-Hindus observe Sarva Pitru Amavasya?

A: While Sarva Pitru Amavasya is a Hindu tradition, people of other faiths are also welcome to observe this day and honor their ancestors in their own way. The spirit of remembering and honoring one’s ancestors is universal and transcends religious boundaries.

Q: What if I don’t know much about my ancestors?

A: If you don’t have detailed information about your ancestors, you can still observe Sarva Pitru Amavasya by offering prayers to your ancestors in general. You can seek their blessings and guidance without knowing their names or specific details.

Q: Can I observe Sarva Pitru Amavasya if I have lost a loved one recently?

A: Yes, you can observe Sarva Pitru Amavasya even if you have lost a loved one recently. It is a time to remember and honor all ancestors, including those who have recently passed away. It can also be a way of seeking solace and comfort in the midst of grief.

Q: What if I am unable to visit ancestral sites on Sarva Pitru Amavasya?

A: If you are unable to visit ancestral sites on Sarva Pitru Amavasya, you can perform the rituals and customs at home or in a temple dedicated to ancestors. The important thing is to remember and honor your ancestors in a sincere and heartfelt manner.

In conclusion, Sarva Pitru Amavasya holds great significance in Hindu traditions as a day dedicated to honoring and seeking the blessings of one’s ancestors. By performing rituals and customs on this day, one can strengthen family bonds, seek ancestral blessings, and express gratitude to the ancestors for their sacrifices and contributions. It is a time to remember the past and seek guidance for the future, while also acknowledging the interconnectedness of past, present, and future generations.