Meaning: noun: Shradh, feasts held in memory of ancestors.
ਜੀਵਤ ਪਿਤਰ ਨ ਮਾਨੈ ਕੋਊ ਮੂਏਂ ਸਿਰਾਧ ਕਰਾਹੀ॥
jeevat pitar na maanai ko-oo mooeṅ siraadh karaahee
One does not honour one’s ancestors or parents while they are alive, but one holds feasts when they have died.
– Bhagat Kabir, Guru Granth Sahib, 332
Message: Are anniversaries compulsory?
This verse tells us how hypocritical it is not to care, respect, or obey our elders while they are alive. However, when they are dead we arrange special feasts for priests, believing that they would reach the ancestors.
But how can these meals reach those whose whereabouts are unknown? Actually, it is the priests and birds or other animals that eat the food meant for the ancestors.
What good can such rituals bring to anyone? Instead of being entangled in such practices, we should serve and respect our parents and elders during their lifetime.
Caring and being grateful to them when they are living would bring much more peace and spiritual happiness to us and to them.
Etymology: From Sanskrit shraadh (faithful); hence also used for the ritual one performs faithfully to pay homage to one’s ancestors, especially to dead parents.