The big treasure of knowledge, our cultures, traditions and this beautiful nature around us filled with protected species from several years by numerous generations are priceless. In the deeper senses, if we think for a moment that “who gave us all these”? Then we would realise, all this magnanimous accumulation is preserved and passed on to the next generation ceaselessly by our Ancestors. Because when they lived, they took care of the resources from Mother Nature to everything around us today. They multiplied them and passed it on to us decently. For all that they have gifted us it’s our paramount duty to Thank them by remembering and honouring them. Our Ancestors decided to visit us during fall or autumn every year to learn our whereabouts. It’s a beautiful opportunity for us to remember, revere them when they visit us. It is believed that our ancestors come from heaven to see our prosperity. Let’s celebrate their visit in the months of September, October and first week of November in different parts of the world in their own way of celebrations.
Why do they visit us in the Fall or Autumn?
It’s a pretty good transition of season from summer to winter. The rays of sun defer slowly. Weather moves towards short daytime and they are the last days of harvesting. Before the dark days arrive, it would be an amazing time to bless their lineage, Stay with them for a day or two in the living world, witness the families’ well-being, and bless them with good health, wealth and happiness. This grace by our ancestors ushers us to withstand life's challenges everyday. This belief is universal. People from many parts of the world have been celebrating in a traditional way by enjoying and commemorating their ancestors’ visit.
Trust and belief are the imperative pillars of the world in every aspect of life. They are the fundamental requirement to experience and exhilarate the grace you find or receive on the path of life’s ebbs and flows. On this instinct it is believed that the unanimous power would bless us at this time of the year. It’s always important that along with the Almighty's blessings we need ancestors or forefathers’ benedictions too. We solemnly offer our tributes to them.
In Bharat(India) as in Sanatana Dharma
As per sanatana dharma there are 5 Karmic debts which everyone should pay them off in their life span. They are
Deva Rina (God’s Debts) we clear these by performing duties without any interruption.
Rishi Rina (Saints’ Debts) these duties are fulfilled by learning continuously with no interval
Pitru Rina (Forefathers’ Debts) these will be rendered by offering food to ancestors in the Pitru Paksh period that usually occurs at the end of September or in October.
Nru Rina ( peoples’ Debts) these duties are carried out in our daily life like helping others, being kind, generous etc
Bhuta Rina (Debts towards 5 elements of Mother Earth) in today’s world this is fulfilled by saving Mother Earth
The inner meaning of debts explains the responsible duties of people.
One of the 5 Rinas is Pitru Rina. To clear the debts of Pitru (ancestors) we should perform these duties with respect, love and affection in the period of “Pitrupaksha”. Paksha means 15 days, Pitru means Fathers’ (forefathers) in Samskrutam (Sanskrit). The meaning of the word pitrupaksha is fifteen dedicated days for ancestors. People worship their ancestors by rendering hymns and offer them rice balls which are later fed to crows or cows. Oftentimes it’s mistaken that this time period is inauspicious but this is the most auspicious period of the year. It is true that no occasion like wedding is celebrated in these fifteen days because it’s told in Vedas (oldest treatise of Hinduism) that the enfolded focus is given to our ancestors in these fifteen days to pay our honours to them and get them released from all their sins from their previous births so that they will be relieved from birth cycles. These celebrations would bring the reminiscing remembrances of all ancestors those we’ve seen and not seen.
Salutations to those great saints who have shown us the path to pay tributes to our ancestors.
“Sins are gone by the duties mankind performs”.
Very long ago in Britain, Ireland and France the Celtic priests were organising the festival called “Celtic festival of Samhain”. This was a religious festival that celebrated the harvest of that season’s crops. The celebrations would go on for 24 hours starting from October 31st to November 1st. Singing, dancing around the bonfire is the part of celebrations. It was believed that the ancestors could come on Earth that night easily to participate in harvest celebrations. Later in the 8th century it was declared by the pope that November 1st would be the day to pay tribute to ancestors and called it “All Saints Day”. The very next day is celebrated as “All Souls’ Day”.That means All Hallows’ Day. The eve would be October 31st that made Hallows Eve with the time the name got transformed to Halloween. Every house is decorated with skull bones, haunted houses in remembrance of dead people. On Halloween day ancestors visit them and they treat them with candies by trick or treat. The significance of orange and black colours are explained like this-
Orange for the new harvest like pumpkin and other crops black for remembering dead people, worn for funerals but venerated. Till date the rituals are carried on by the people of America and many other parts of the world. Wearing scary costumes symbolises spirits walking on the streets. People wear scary clothes to take away the fear about dead people. Bats and owls are often shown because nocturnals can see the dead ones walking at nights where people cannot see them. Spiders are the insects of Halloween season. Fall season is their mating season and hence they are all around the garden backyards and front yards.
Commemorating ancestors by offering food and following the rituals has been the practice for many years. Paying tribute in their own traditional means is the best way to connect with our ancestors and also to introduce them to the new generations.
“Halloween Remembrances are to embrace the traces of ancestors in this living world”.
El Dia de Muertos’ or The Day of the Death
The day of the Dead is celebrated for three days every year, which is October 31st for the baby souls who had never committed any sin. The second day November 1st for the souls of saints is called All Saints day. And the third day November 2nd is for all souls is called All Souls Day. They celebrate this season vividly with highly decorated paper skeletons. They all have fun by dancing, singing and also with the platter full of grand meals. The family gatherings make this event more memorable. They welcome their ancestors happily and also talk to them with utmost love, affection and adoration.
For them these three days are the days of festivals where they offer prayers to the goddess of Death and also they light candles in their ancestors' memory.
“Souls talk in fall when the people recall them all”.
Pchum Ben (Cambodia)
(honouring celebration for dead in Cambodia by Buddists)
Just like Hindu traditions, Buddhists also will celebrate the ancestor's visit for fifteen days in the month of October. They believe that the souls are free in the living world for fifteen days in the month of October and hence it’s a time of the year to save their forefathers from any sin they committed when they lived. Freed souls who would bless their lineage in thick and thin.
October is the month dedicated to forefathers’ ethical celebrations.
“Fortnight is the religious light of dutiful respect”.
Chuseok or Hangawi (South Korea)
These celebrations again are for the respects offered for forefathers. It’s not a sad moment; rather, this is their grand celebration for 15 days. They arrange for families’ get togethers. South Korean traditions are a mixture of All Souls’ Day and Pitru Paksha. They celebrate for 15 days at the end of harvest season. It usually occurs in September and October.
“Remember the deceased member is the autumn’s revere”.
It’s an amazing season with the vibes of ancestors. Autumn made the atmosphere colorful and hearts delightful. The grace that enhances this sphere is the enchanting blessings of our forefathers in this living world. Different parts of the world celebrate their ancestors approximately at the same time of the year sounds astonishing. Traditions are moderately similar, intentions are clear. One day the world might have been geographically together and followed pristinely kindred rituals.
पितृपक्षस्य वेलायां भक्त्या प्रीत्या च तान् पितॄण्।
वयं स्मराम भूलोके पुनर्मिलाम तान्पितॄण्॥
🙏🏻पितृभ्यो नमः 🙏🏻
We pray for those forefathers with love and dedication in autumn’s ancestor month. We will meet them again in the living world.
🙌🏻Salutations to Ancestors🙌🏻
जयतु भारतम्।जयतु ज्ञनम्।
_Roopa Rani Bussa
Information Courtesy - Ms.Melinda Vazquez
Thank you Ms. Melinda for the information about
El Dia de Muertos’ or The Day of the Dead.