Is it mandatory to conduct sraardha ceremony (annual death ceremony) for departed ancestors?

Why do you even think that it should not be conducted? Are you not eating daily? What is it that you are losing in setting aside one day in a year in memory of parents who tenderly and lovingly raised you? Why can’t you have one meal a year in their memory? It is immaterial to you whether they come and eat what you have offered or not. Are you going to lose your entire wealth in conducting the rituals, offering food to a Brahmin or by feeding a crow?

The scriptures have specified that these rituals should be performed within our means. There is no necessity to stretch beyond one’s financial limits. It is natural to get depressed and upset when someone loved dies. At the same time the person gets irritated that the person whom he/she dislikes continues to be alive. There is no concept of ‘adjustment’ in us. Setting aside one day in a year for our departed elder and partaking food in their memory is our duty (dharma) as laid down by our scriptures. It is also our way of showing our gratitude towards them.

-Glimpses of Bhaktimala 4

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