Pitru Paksha (Sanskrit: पितृ पक्ष), also spelt as Pitr paksha or Pitri paksha, (literally "fortnight of the ancestors") is a 16–lunar day period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors (Pitrs), especially through food offerings.
Pitru Paksha is considered by Hindus to be inauspicious, given the death rite performed during the ceremony, known as Shraddha or tarpan. In southern and western India, it falls in the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada (September–October), beginning with the full moon day (Purnima) that occurs immediately after the Ganesh festival and ending with the new moon day known as Sarvapitri amavasya, Mahalaya amavasya or simply Mahalaya.
Pitru Paksha 2012 starts on September 30, 2012 – Mahalya Pitru Paksha begins - Pratipada and Purnima Shradh on the same day and the last day is October 15, 2012 – Mahalaya Amavasi – Most important day of Shradh.
It is an extremely powerful period for propitiation of ancestors. Pitrus are said to Grace the households of their descendants with Divine Permission from the other Planes of Existence and are waiting to Bless any descendant who is willing to Honour them in whatever little way they can.
The impact ancestors have on your life is profound. Ancient cultures know that the ancestors have a powerful governing influence over our destiny.
Kala Sarpa Yoga & the Rahu-Ketu Effect
Right now, All the planets are between Rahu & Ketu, this creates a yoga called Kala Sarpa and a Kala Sarpa Yoga enhances Ancestor Worship. This means, Mahalaya Tarpanam Rituals are extra strong this year.
The easiest way to access God's grace is to feed a person who is starving, and to donate clothes. Donating food is considered to be the greatest charity of all the charities.