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Naag Panchami

Date: 27th July, 2017

Indian festivals are steeped in various multihued legends that owe their beginning to ancinet religious texts and Hindu scriptures. The same goes with the festival of Naag Panchami, which is dedicated to snake-God.

Naag Panchami is a prominent Hindu festival, which is commemorated on Panchami (Fifth) of Shukla Paksh in the Hindu month of Shravan (July – August). The propitious occasion of Naag Panchami is celebrated all across India, but observed more in rural areas.

Legend

The Farmer and the Snake
The first mythological tale associated with Naag Panchami states that one day a farmer was ploughing his field. All of a sudden, he saw an anthill at the edge of his field which he unintentionally annihilated with his tools, and hence the young snakes that were living inside were dead. When the mother of those young snakes came back, she saw the pieces of her young ones and bent on taking revenge with the farmer.

One day when the farmer was sleeping with his family the snake came and started to bite the feet of all the family members. At that time the eldest daughter of the snake was not there so the snake moved towards the neighboring village where the married daughter of farmer was living. The snake reached there, saw a young girl, and tried to bite her. Suddenly she saw that girl with folding hands prayed to the snake and request for forgiveness. The snake said sorry for killing her family, gave her daughter some nectar, and told her to sprinkle over all the dead people. The girl did the same and with this her family members came back to life.

Lord Krishna and Kaaliya Naag
As per this interesting legend, one day young Krishna was playing with his friends. Suddenly, their ball got entrapped in a tree branch. Below the tree, a terrible and enormous snake used to live so all the cowboys refused to go there. Unexpectedly, young Krishna slipped and fell into the water. The dreadful snake came up with rage to kill him, but after realizing his divine powers, the snake said sorry to Lord Krishna. Since then, the triumph of Lord Krishna over Kaaliya snake is celebrated as Naag Panchami.

Nag Panchami Traditions and Customs

The worship places dedicated to snakes are flocked by devotees on this day. They carry turmeric powder and milk as offerings for the deity. In some parts of India, people offer rice and milk to live snakes as it is believed that giving them food could get protection from their bites.

Women also participate in this celebration; they wake up early in the morning, take bath and draw figures of snakes on the walls of the house with a mixture of milk, clay and cow dung. Then offerings are made with rice, milk, ghee, and water. Women also go to snake temples, carrying flowers and pots of milk and offer it to deity. As per mythological tales, if a snake drinks milk then it brings good luck and prosperity in life.