Naga Panchami is celebrated to worship Nagas or snakes and the deities related to snakes. Many religions in India and Nepal observe the day. Not only Hindus but Jains and Buddhist people also celebrate this day. The occasion arrives on the fifth day of the bright half of the lunar month, which happens in July/August.
In India, the day is celebrated in several states to receive the grace of snakes, snake deities, and Rahu in astrology. It is said that a person who is cursed by a snake or has killed a snake in the past life often goes through chronic illness such as cancer. Worshipping snakes keeps the body away from such ailments and gives us the grace of snakes.
Significance Of Celebrating This Day
The observance happens in most Indian states, and people worship snakes in different ways. In rural areas, people go to the snake pits to worship them and offer them milk. They perform Puja of the pit and encircle it a few times. They then submit their prayers to the Naga Devata to shower its grace upon the family.
Many families prefer to celebrate the day in their homes. These families prepare an idol of a snake made of silver, stone, wood, and even a painting. This idol is bathed in the milk, offered flowers and fruits, and prayed upon. People ask the idol for the welfare of their family. People worship live snakes with the help of a snake charmer.
Also, people who have a fear of snakes or snakebite observe a fast on this day and visit the temple to overcome their fear. The day is celebrated with enough fervor and enthusiasm, where people also offer flowers, fruits, and diyas to worship the snakes and deities. In Maharashtra, this day is celebrated greatly; the most famous temple is the Nagoba Temple in Nagpur, Maharashtra, where Naga Pujas happen.
Many stories are written about snakes and the deities related to them. However, there are many folktales as well that tell us the stories about snakes. One such tale is about a farmer and his three children. The farmer had two sons and a daughter. One day while plowing the field, the farmer’s son killed three snakes.
The snake’s mother wanted to take revenge, so she bit the farmer, his wife, and both sons on the same night. Her bite led to the death of those people upon which the farmer’s daughter grieved heavily.
She went to the mother snake, requested her to accept the bowl of milk, and asked for forgiveness for her family. She requested the snake to restore his family as it was.
In some legends, snakes are an important part of rivers and ponds and are the deities of these water bodies. They help restore the balance in these water bodies by killing micro-organisms.
Let’s talk about the Dos and Don’ts of Nag Panchami.
Things To Do On The Day Of Nag Panchami
• Observing fasting on this day is beneficial as it overcomes the fear of snakebite.
• Offer milk, sweets, and flowers to Naga Devata or in front of a snake pit.
• Receive the grace of Nag Devata by reciting the Naga Panchami mantras.
• Consider Naga Panchami a day to respect all life forms on this planet and remember it throughout the year.
Things To Avoid On Nag Panchami
• One should not harm or kill snakes on this day and any time of the year.
• One should not cut down the trees or harm the forest as it is the place where snakes and animals live.
• Do not use needles and thread, and do not use scissors on this day.
• Do not cook in iron vessels on Nag Panchami.