Significance of Crow during Shraadh in Hindus

Shraadh is a ritual performed by Hindus to pay homage and offer food to their deceased ancestors, especially their parents and grandparents. The ritual is believed to nourish, protect, and support the souls of the departed in their journey to the higher realms, and also to ensure their blessings for the living descendants. Shraadh is performed on the death anniversary of the ancestor according to the Hindu lunar calendar, and also collectively for all ancestors during the fortnight of Pitru Paksha, which falls in the month of Bhadrapada (September-October).

One of the important aspects of shraadh is the feeding of crows, which are revered as messengers of the ancestors and symbols of death and rebirth in Hindu mythology. Crows are offered balls of cooked rice mixed with sesame seeds, called pindas, along with other food items such as fruits, sweets, and grains. The crows are expected to eat the food quickly and fly away, indicating the acceptance and satisfaction of the ancestors. If the crows do not eat or take a long time to eat, it is considered a bad omen and a sign of displeasure or hunger of the ancestral souls.

The significance of crows in shraadh is based on a story from the Hindu epic Ramayana, which narrates how Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana were living in exile in the forest. One day, a crow, who was actually Jayanta, the son of Lord Indra, the king of gods, disguised himself as a bird and pecked at Sita’s feet while Rama was sleeping on her lap. Sita was startled and Rama woke up. He saw the crow and recognized him as Jayanta. He was enraged by his mischief and decided to punish him by shooting an arrow at his eye. Jayanta begged for mercy and apologized for his offense. Rama spared his life but cursed him to have only one eye. He also gave him a boon that he would be able to see things that are invisible to others, such as the souls of the dead. He also decreed that whoever feeds Jayanta and his descendants during shraadh would please their ancestors and receive their blessings.

Thus, crows became associated with shraadh and ancestor worship in Hinduism. They are considered to be sacred birds that can communicate with the departed souls and convey the offerings and prayers of the living. They are also seen as symbols of wisdom, intelligence, and creativity, as they are among the most encephalized birds in the world. Crows are respected and revered by Hindus, who believe that by feeding them during shraadh, they are honoring their ancestors and ensuring their own well-being and prosperity.

Significance of Crow during Shraadh in Hindus


  • Hindus believe that crows have a special connection with the ancestors because they can fly between the worlds of the living and the dead, and carry messages and offerings between them. Crows are also considered to be vehicles of Lord Shani, the god of justice and karma, who punishes or rewards people according to their deeds. By feeding and pleasing the crows, Hindus hope to appease Lord Shani and their ancestors, and receive their grace and protection.
  • Hindus also believe that crows have a unique ability to sense the presence of the ancestors, especially during the Pitru Paksha, the fortnight of ancestor worship. Crows are said to be able to recognize the faces and voices of the descendants of their ancestors, and respond accordingly. If a crow caws near a house or a person, it is considered a sign that an ancestor is visiting or communicating with them. If a crow pecks at a person or a window, it is considered a warning or a request from an ancestor. If a crow flies over a person’s head or follows them, it is considered a blessing or a guidance from an ancestor
  • Hindus also believe that crows have a role in the cycle of rebirth and liberation. According to some scriptures, crows are one of the 84 lakh (8.4 million) forms of life that a soul can take before attaining moksha, or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Crows are considered to be among the higher forms of life, as they have intelligence, memory, and social skills. Crows are also believed to be able to remember their past lives and their karmic debts. By feeding the crows, Hindus hope to help them clear their karmic debts and progress towards moksha