Nag Panchami – Festival of Snake Worship
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Nag Panchami (27-Jul-2017)
Nag Panchmi is a Hindu festival exclusively dedicated for the worship of snake gods. Hinduism has always been a religion which propagates tolerance and peaceful coexistence, together with other creations of nature. Accordingly, various elements of nature such as rivers, mountains, and even other living creatures have been worshiped and considered sacred from times unknown. One such festival which marks the association of Humans with snakes, is the Nag Panchami. Also known as Garuda Panchami, this revered festival falls on the fifth day of the waxing phase of the moon, in the Hindu month of Sravana. (July or August).
The months of July and August are usually the monsoon months in India, when most part of the country receives rainfall. This is also the time when snakes come out of their wet holes, seeking better shelter. There ate greater chances that they come in way of humans, thereby posing a threat to human lives, given their poisonous nature. Hence people widely believe that worshiping snake gods on this day by offering milk would reduce their chances of getting harmed.
Customarily, people refrain from certain activities such as chopping, cutting, frying, even frying pan on the fire on this day. It is also forbidden to dig the earth. The festival aims at bringing happiness and prosperity to the family as a whole.
Nag Panchami: Eight Snakes To Be Worshiped (Ashta Naga)
According to religious Hindu scriptures, there are eight holy snakes that are to be worshiped on the day of Naga Panchami. They are:
- Ananta Naga
- Vasuki Naga
- Taxak Naga
- Kambala Naga
- Shankhapal Naga
- Padma Naga
- Kaliya Naga
- Dhruthrashtra Naga
Nag Panchami Fast
Devotees undertake to fast on the revered day of Nag Panchami as a mark of respect towards the snake gods. The fast typically begins from the dawn and ends at dusk. Those observing the fast, must refrain from consuming salt during the fasting period. In the evening, they offer prayers to the snake gods, along with offering sweet porridge. This sweet porridge is then consumed by the devotee as a sign of breaking the fast. The remaining porridge is then distributed among the family members as a ‘Prasad’. It must be noted that people must undertake the Nag Panchami Vrat with utmost devotion and dedication.
-Radhika T V
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