In Hinduism - we are born with 4 debts - Debt to God, to our ancestors, Teachers, Other beings. Therefore, it is our Dharma to act to get rid of these debts. . The term 'Shraddha' has originated from 'Shraddhaa' (faith). It is impossible to repay the various favors, which our deceased forefathers have done for us. The ritual performed for them with complete faith is known as Shraddha. . 'Shraadh' means 'Shraddha' which stands for unconditional, limitless reverence. Sons pay respectful homage to their deceased parents and grand parents. The fifteen days of "Krishna Paksh" (dark fortnight) of Ashvina month(september-October) following Ganesh Chaturthi are called ‘Pitra Paksh’ or Shraadh days. "Shraadh" is performed respectfully for the departed elders only during this period. . This is an occasion to perform rites for the departed ancestors to keep their souls indebted for years. The son or the grandson of the departed person/s performs the Shraadh. Shraadh : also known as Pitru Paksha literally meaning “fortnight of the ancestors” is a 16-lunar day period when Hindus pay homage to their ancestors (Pitrs), especially by food offerings. It falls in the Hindu lunar month of Bhadrapada , beginning with the full moon day (Purnima) that occurs immediately after Ganesh festival and ending with the new moon day known as Mahalaya Amavasya. Pitru Lok According to Hindu mythology, the souls of three preceding generations of one’s ancestor reside in Pitru-loka, a realm between heaven and earth - governed by Yama, the god of death - who takes the soul of a dying man from earth to Pitru-loka. When a person of the next generation dies, the first generation shifts to heaven and unites with God and are thus not given Shraadh offerings. Thus, only the three generations in Pitru-loka are given Shraadh rites. Karna and Shraadh When the legendary donor Karna died in the epic Mahabharata war, his soul transcended to Heaven where he was offered gold and jewels as food, but Karna needed real food to eat in Heaven. He asked Lord Indra, the reason for serving gold as food. Lord Indra said that Karna had donated gold all his life, and never donated food to his ancestors in Shraadh. Karna replied since he was unaware of his ancestors, he never donated anything in their memory. Karna was allowed to return to earth for a 16-day period, when he performed Shraadh and donated food and water in their memory. This period is now known as Pitru Paksha.