Pitra Havan Explanation and List
Pitra Paksh occurs in the latter part of the calendar year and precedes Nouraatam or Nouraatri Vrata. It is one of the four Yagyas (or sacrifices) recommended for us by our learned Yogis and Pundits and it is mandatory .
This period of fifteen days is specially dedicated to the remembrance of out ancestors and particularly our lineage or fore parents. Offerings are made in an attempt to assist the soul of those individuals in its travels towards the divine. Some people believe that it is also in an attempt to make offerings to them to satisfy them, thereby preventing them from trying to communicate with us. Superstition plays a role in Pitra Paksha but it is not the foundation of what it represents.
Only Pitri Yagya should be performed in Pitra Paksha. The basis for this is in the Vedas and Puranas hence Pitri Yagya is done then at this time. Special instructions apply to this time and its practices. Specific mantras and rituals are used for the purpose of transmitting spiritual merit to the fore parents.
Traditionally, males perform this ceremony. One reason for this is that a family's lineage is usually propagated through sons. Given that this is the case sons or males have the responsibility to not only carry on the family lineage but to satisfy the creed of gratitude towards the fore parents - on behalf of the entire family. However, the entire family need to become involved, particularly in preparation and "Bhojan". If a son or grandson is not available, then a suitable male representative should be chosen in consultation with a Pundit who is qualified to make such a decision.
Each soul is in need of sustenance as it is subjected to "Aawagaman" or repeated incarnation (birth and death) and this Pitra Havan provides a level of sustenance in this regard. Physical properties are offered; the properties of these physical ingredients are transmitted to the various souls in its travels. Consult with your Pundits for more information.
LIST OF ITEMS:
The list of items needed for Pitri Yagya here : Items Required For Pitra Havan