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Mahalaya Amavasye

Mahalaya Amavasye 2020 and 2021

Mahalaya Amavasye is a Hindu religious festival during which one honours or even worships one’s ancestors. Its more common designation, Pitru Paksha, literally means “fortnight of the ancestors.”

YearDateDayHolidayStates
202017 SepThuMahalaya Amavasye KA, OR, TR & WB
20216 OctWedMahalaya Amavasye KA, OR, TR & WB

The holiday extends across 16 days, from full moon to new moon, during September or October on the Western Calendar. It is a time of “propitiating” ancestral spirits and of paying homage to them in the form of food offerings, a practice referred to as “shraddha.”

The legends and beliefs behind Mahalaya Amavasye are many and complex. But the basic background is the idea that three generations of one’s ancestors go not immediately to Heaven but to a realm in between Heaven and Earth. That intermediate realm is known as “Pitru Loka.” It is believed that these ancestors visit the homes of their descendants this time of year and then “graduate” into Heaven or, at least, a step closer to it.

During Mahalaya Amavasye you will see colourful religious rituals at temples and in public places. There will be many unique sights that will create lasting memories.