Extract from "All about Mahalayapaksham-2014.pdf" uploaded to the folder above
A ‘paksha’ is 15 days. When the Sun enters ‘kanya rasi’ (Virgo) in Krishna paksha, the period is termed as ‘Mahalaya paksha’.
It is said that our ancestors get Yama’s permission and descend from Pitru loka during Mahalaya paksha, and receive with
satisfaction the offerings of their progeny.
This year this Paksham starts on Tuesday, the September 9th 2014.
This is also the only paksha where we get an opportunity to offer ‘tarpana’ even to the departed souls of our choice, other than our
own pitrus. This is known as ‘karunyaka pitru tarpana’. For instance, we can do it for persons who died without issues.
At least on one day:
Persons who have lost their father can perform 'Tharpanam' daily. Yes, during the entire period.
Or else, one should perform ‘Mahalaya sraaddha’ at least on one day during the paksha as hiranya roopam.
Those who wish do it on only one day as Hiranya sraaddham, they can do it on a convenient day. Following days are considered
significant, one can consider, if possible, to choose a day cited here: Maha Bharani , Maha Vyatheepadham,
Madhyaashtami and Gaja chaaya .
Brahmana Bojanam :
Brahmana Bojanam also is (as samaaraadhana menu) also highly recommended during the Hiranya roopa Sraaddham.
Chaturdasi & Amavasya:
Of course they have to avoid certain days, ie., Chaturdasi & Amavaasya (3rd and 4th of Oct. These days are meant for particular persons, ie., Chaturdasi is allotted for those who died in accidents and by other unnatural (durmaranam) deaths. It is said that widows and Brahmacharis can observe Mahalayam on the day of Amavaasya.
For those who have attained 'siddhi' (Sanyasis) , Please see the list above.
While on the subject let me point out that though it is no mandatory as such, this Mahalaya Sraaddha can also be performed as 'Paarvana' vidhaanam ie., with Homam. But as it may involve a lot of preparations in addition to the monetary aspects it may not be possible to perform this every year for all.Sufficient (more) space also is required. Hence, if possible, one can think of doing this, at least once in the life time.