If you think about it, one day out of 365 to celebrate fathers does seem a bit unbalanced.
That’s the same amount of days groundhogs get. Punxsutawney Phil gets his winter predictions wrong plenty of times, but he still gets a whole day. How is that fair?
Meanwhile, if winter does run long, who’s the guy shoveling the driveway, picking the kids up so they don’t have to walk home in the snow and paying the heating bill? That’s right, it’s dear old dad. With that on top of all the other dad stuff there is, how is one day enough?
Well, one day may be the American way, but in other places, dads get over two weeks dedicated to them. So if you think dads don’t get their due, then it’s time you learned about the Indian holiday known as Pitru Paksha.
First off, India does currently have a more familiar Father’s Day. It’s celebrated on the third Sunday of June and is very much influenced by the Father’s Day of the United States and the United Kingdom. Now this Father’s Day is primarily celebrated in the more metropolitan areas of India rather than nationwide, although the holiday’s popularity is growing, as it is a relatively more recent celebration. On Indian Father’s Day, children bring their father’s gifts, like in America and the UK. (Although the day is not as synonymous with neckties)
As for the tradition of Pitru Paksha, this is a completely different kind of holiday. First off, it’s a 16 lunar day event based off of the Hindu calendar. Secondly, this focuses primarily on celebrating fathers of the past, as that Pitru Paksha means “Fortnight of the Ancestors.”
The period is observed in early fall, usually starting on the second fortnight in September in specific parts of India.
The belief here is that this ritual will allow for previous generations to ascend in the afterlife. The tradition focuses primarily on males performing the ceremonies, but in special cases, women can if needed. Those among the living who carry out the ritual should wear traditional clothes and take a purifying bath before carrying out the ceremony.
It is now that the offerings of food are made. If the offerings are eaten by a crow, that is a sign that it has been accepted. Cows and dogs also get fed too as part of the tradition. After this happens, family members can meet up for lunch.
So while this tradition may be unfamiliar to many, just think about how this is a celebration of all fathers of the past and India also has another day celebrating the current crop. Imagine that, 17 days in total per year. Now that’s a good start, but maybe we can still add just a few more days to really get a dad celebration on proper.