Goga Navami or Guga Naumi

Goga Navami is observed on the ninth day of the Krishna Paksha (waning phase of moon) in Bhadrapad month in North India. In 2014, the date of Goga Navami is August 19. Also known as Guga Naumi, the festival is dedicated to Guga – the Snake God. It is believed that he appeared on earth on the ninth day of Bhadon. The festival is of great importance in Himachal Pradesh, western Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and other regions in North India.

Legend has it that Guga, a Rajput prince and hero, had supernatural powers to control snakes. He got the powers even before his birth from Baba Gorakhnath. There are different versions of the story of Guga and is narrated on the day as part of rituals. All stories include his divine birth, his art of healing people bitten by snakes and controlling venomous snakes, his marriage, dispute with cousins, wars and his final disappearance from earth. He is believed to have defeated numerous powerful kings.

Guga is depicted riding a blue horse and holds blue and yellow flags. Processions and pujas are held on the day in Guga Mari Temples. During the period, Guga Navami melas (fairs) are held in many regions in rural parts of North and north-western India.

There is a popular belief that children will be protected by Guga. So married women pray and perform pujas for the long life and health of their children. Childless married women pray for begetting children.