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India celebrates Nag Panchami: Traditional Worship of Snakes as per Hindu Rituals

Sawan month of the Hindu Calendar, Shukla Paksha Panchami is also observed as Nag Panchami and falls two days after Hariyali Teej. This year it will be on August 7

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Snakestone in South India. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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It is the diverse customs and traditions, that makes India lively and vibrant to the world. Celebrating these festivals bring one closer to the traditional and cultural values and also a sense of belonging to the community or place. Similarly, one such festival is Nag Panchami that is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm across India and also in Nepal to please the serpent Gods and seek their blessings.

During Sawan month of the Hindu Calendar, Shukla Paksha Panchami is also observed as Nag Panchami and falls two days after Hariyali Teej. This year, in 2016, India celebrates Nag Panchami on August 7.

On the day of the festival, they worship of snakes or serpents. According to the Hindu Calender on the fifth day of the bright half lunar month of Shravan. It is observed that devotees usually worship King Cobra.

The ancient literature says Kashyapa, son of Great Lord Brahma, the creator of the dynasty had four consorts. The Third wife of Brahma was Kadru who belonged to the Naga race of the Pitru Loka. She gave birth to the Nagas among the other three, the remaining the three gave birth to Devas, Garuda, Daityas.

The Third wife of Brahma was Kadru who belonged to the Naga race of the Pitru Loka. She gave birth to the Nagas among the other three, the remaining three gave birth to Devas, Garuda, and Daityas. The Epic Story of Mahabharata mentions, Astika, the Brahmin son of Jaratkarus, who spotted the Sarpa Satra of Janamejaya, king of the Kuru Empire, that lasted for 12 long years.

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Yagna was performed by Janamejaya to decimate the race of all snakes, to avenge the death of his father Parikshit due to snake bite off of Takshaka, the King of snakes. The day fire sacrifice was stopped, due to the intervention of Astika was on the Shukla Paksha Panchami day in the month of Shravan when Takshaka and his remaining races at that time were saved from decimation by the shape Satra Yana. From that day, the festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated in all over India and Nepal.

In the famous Changu Narayan Temple in Nepal- there is a statue of Garuda, the son of Second wife of Brahma.

Nag Panchami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Nag Panchami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

According to Hindu mythology, Naga Panchami has great importance in the Mahabharata. Even Indian Mythological scriptures such as Narada Purana, Agni Purana, and Skanda Purana give details of the history of snakes extolling the worship of snakes.

In India Several Hindu human tribes are known as “Nagas”. It is a belief among the people of this community that prayers offered to snakes would please the Nag Devta.

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  • Nag Chaturthi: People observe a fast on the day prior to Nag Panchami. Fasting before Nag Panchami is known as Nag Chavithi. This ritual of fasting in Andhra Pradesh is Observed after Diwali.
  • Nag Pancham: Nag Panchami in Gujarat is also known as Nag Pancham. In Gujarat, Nag Panchami is observed in 15 days after it is celebrated in all the other states of India.

– Prepared by Shweta Maheshwari, a NewsGram writer

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  • AJ Krish

    The worship of snakes is seen in almost every temple. There are even large temples constructed for its worship.

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