Sraddha (Sanskrit, belief), is the name of the funeral ceremony of the Hindus, in which balls of food and water are offered to the deceased ancestors of the sacrificer, or to the Pitris, or manes, collectively. It is specially performed for a parent recently deceased, or for three paternal ancestors, and is supposed necessary to secure the ascent and residence of the soul of the deceased in a world appropriated to the manes. It is also a ceremony of rejoicing as well as mourning, and there are various Sraddhas to be enumerated, viz.:
1. Constant, or the daily offerings to the manes in general, and those offered on certain days of every month.
2. Occasional, as those for a recently deceased relative, or on various domestic occasions, as the birth of a son, etc.
3. Voluntary, performed for a special object, such as the hope of religious merit, etc. The proper seasons for the worship of the manes collectively are the dark fortnight (or period of the moon's wane), the day of the new moon, the summer and winter solstices, eclipses, etc. The presentation of the ball of food to the deceased and to his progenitors in both lines is the office of the nearest male relative, and is the test and title of his claim to the inheritance.