By Swami Harshananda
Hemaśrāddha literally means ‘śrāddha with gold or money'.
Honoring the dead ancestors and gratefully remembering them on the day of their death is an important religious duty. The ceremony conducted on such occasions is called ‘śrāddha’.
When a regular śrāddha cannot be performed due to some problems like aśauca or journey, it can be substituted with āmaśrāddha or hemaśrāddha. In āmaśrāddha, twice the quantity of grains needed for cooked food in a regular śrāddha is given as gift. In hemaśrāddha, money needed for four times the quantity of grains has to be donated to worthy persons.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore