Shradams / Death Anniversary
According to the sacred Hindu epics (Itihasa), at the beginning of Pitru Paksha, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Libra (Thula). Coinciding with this moment, it is believed that the spirits leave Pitru–loka and reside in their descendants’ homes for a month until the sun enters the next zodiac—Scorpio (Vrichchhika)—and there is a full moon. Hindus are expected to propitiate the ancestors in the first half, during the dark fortnight.
Shradam comes from the word Sradha(Trust/loyalty) and indicates the annual ritual performed to offer food to three generations of your ancestors. It is believed that when someone dies they reach the land of the manes(Pithru Loka), then our one year is one day for them. We are only attempting to offer food and water to them every day.
Shradham ceremony is a way of repaying one’s debt towards one’s parents and ancestors. A person is indebted to his parents and ancestors because they were responsible for his birth on earth. Without even one of them in the ancestral line, he would never have been.