Belief in the continued existence of the forefathers (pitṛs) in a subtle body at a different plane (pitṛloka or the world of manes) is a common feature of mankind in general and the Hindus in particular. It is often believed that these forefathers when propitiated through appropriate rites can bestow on their descendants worldly prosperity, nay, even spiritual benefits. The propitiating rite is called śrāddha, since it is offered with śraddhā (faith). Of the several śrāddhas, ābhyudayika-śrāddha is particularly connected with abhyudaya (worldly well-being) and is performed on auspicious occasions like the birth of children, their marriage and so on. It can even be performed at the commencement of a charitable act such as the dedication of a well or tank or park to the public.
Unlike the other śrāddhas which are solemn, this śrāddha is a joyous occasion. Hence certain changes have been effected in its performance. For instance: It is done in the morning and not in the afternoon. The yajñopavīta (sacred cord) is worn in the usual way and not from right to left. The mantra ‘svadhā,’ which is a must in other śrāddhas is not used. Yava grains (barley) are used as the oblatory material instead of sesamum.
This śrāddha is sometimes identified with Nāndīśrāddha or Vṛddhiśrāddha.
See also ŚRĀDDHA.