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Nag Panchami

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The Nag Panchami or festival of snakes is celebrated on the fifth day of the moonlit fortnight in the month of Shravan (July /August) according to the Hindu calendar. In Hindu culture, snakes own an important place. Hindu mythologies are filled with tales and stories about snakes, the most chief being the Sheshnag of Lord Vishnu. It is quite understandable that India with such mythological background celebrates Nag Panchami in honor of snakes every year. During the festival people bathe the snakes with milk ensuring their families freedom from danger of snakes. According to myth, ploughing a field is forbidden on this day.


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History of Nag Panchami

There are numerous legends related with Nag Panchami. One legend has it that a farmer accidentally killed some little serpents. Enraged, the mother of the serpents took vengeance by biting and killing the farmer and his family. One daughter was spared as she was praying to the Nagas. This act resulted in the revival of the farmer and his family. Ever since, Nag Panchami is celebrated in India every year. It is understood that in reward for worship the snakes will not at all harm any member of the family. There is yet another legend which relates to the victory of Lord Krishna over the Kaliya snake. The same is remembered and celebrated this day.


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How to celebrate Nag Panchami

In India, snakes are so valued that temples have also been built in their honor. On Nag Panchami day, snakes or their pictures are honored and religious rituals are performed to seek the good will of snakes. Villagers dance to music and carry snakes in pots over their heads to the temple. After rituals, the temple priest sprinkles haldi-kumkum i.e. turmeric and red powder and flowers on their heads. Plenty of milk and honey in return to seek immunity from snake bites. A priest is called to carry out the rituals and dakshina'' is given in gold or silver or other forms.


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