Nag Panchami is dedicated to the worship of Naga, or Snakes, and is an important festival in
in Sravan month. Nag Panchami 2016 date is August 7. Nagas are worshipped in Hindu religion and snakes are always depicted with Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, two of the most popular Gods in Hinduism. Lord Vishnu lies on Snake Ananta in the milky ocean and Lord Shiva has snakes as ornament and this close association has deep symbolic meaning. India
Naga Panchami is observed in eastern parts of
India on all the fifth day in Ashar and Shravan lunar fortnights . The most important Naga Panchami, which is observed through out , falls on the fifth day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) in Shravan month. In Gujarat, the festival is observed 15 days later. India
Manasa Devi, the snake goddess, is worshipped on this day in Bengal, Orissa and several parts of
North India. Special idols of Goddess Manasa are made and are worshipped. Nagaraja, Ananta and other Snake deities are worshipped on the day in other regions.
People also observe Naga Panchami Vrata on the day – some Hindu communities fast during the daytime and eat food only after sunset. Some people avoid salt and deep fried on the day. Some people fast on Naga Chaturthi day, which falls a day before.
Some Hindu communities in
South India have an elaborate oil bath on the day. There is a belief that unmarried women who undertake Naga Panchami Vrat and do the puja to Nagas will get good husbands.
Popular belief is that Lord Krishna defeated snake Kaliya on Naga Panchami day. The monsoon season is at is peak during the period (July – August) and snakes move out of their burrows, which are filled with water, and occupy spaces frequented by human beings. So it is widely believed that Naga Panchami is observed to please the Nagas and avoid snake bites during this season.
In many places, two idols of snakes are drawn on both sides of doors using cow dung on the day. Five-hooded idols are worshipped in many regions. The idol of five-hooded snake is made using mud, turmeric, sandal and saffron.
Please Don't Feed Milk To Snakes
Milk is offered to the snake idols on Naga Panchami. In some extreme form of worship people feed live cobras – offering milk and eggs to the snakes, especially to cobras near snake pits. Some people also decorate snake pits, known as Valmeekam or Puttu. Snake charmers also bring cobras to villages and towns which are fed with milk by devotees. Such practices should not be encouraged as it endangers the life of snakes.
Forcefully feeding snakes, pouring milk into snake pits and bursting crackers should be discouraged. This only leads to the death of snakes. Snakes don’t drink milk but the practice has been encouraged by popular beliefs.
Worship of Nagas is a constant reminder to humans to live in harmony with Nature. And the ideal way to worship Nagas is by protecting the forests and grooves that are home of snakes and other animals.
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