Naga Panchami is a festival of profound significance in India. Hindu devotees across the country pay their respects to the Naga Gods during Naga Panchami. They make serpents from wood, silver, or stones for the occasion. People also use paintings of Naga or snakes. During this auspicious celebration, they offer milk, sweets, and fruits to the serpent. People also provide offerings to live snakes, like cobras, on this day. It is essential to take the assistance of a snake charmer for that. Here, in this article, we will discuss the origin, stories, celebrations, and significance of Naga Panchami.
We celebrate Nag Panchami on the Panchami Tithi of Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Shravana. It comes either in July or August. The Nagoba Temple, located in the Nagpur district in Maharastra, is famous for conducting the Nag Panchami Festival. Through this festival, devotees, especially women, seek the blessings of Lord Naga. People ask for his forgiveness, and they pray for attaining happiness and fulfillment for their families. Naga Panchami is also known as Nag Chathruti and Nagil Charithi. There are different names for the occasion in various parts of the country.
Legends related to Naga Panchami: Naga Panchami is a festival that has been celebrated for a long time in India. Agni Purana, Skanda Purana, Narada Purana, Garuda Purana, and other Hindu Puranic texts also refer to Naga Panchami. In the Puranic literature, we can find a reference to how the Naga clan came into existence. Lord Brahma's son, Kashyapa, married Kudru and Vinata, daughters of Prajapati. Kudru gave birth to the Naga clan.
In Garuda Purana, there is a description of why we offer milk and sweets to Naga Devas on Naga Panchami. As per the text, the reason is that it will provide us with good things in our lives. After we offer milk to snakes, we have to feed Brahmins too. It is an essential part of the ceremony. There are different legends associated with its origin.
One of them bases itself on the story of Takshak, the king of snakes. We can find it in Mahabharatha. King Takshak killed Parikshit, king Janamya's father. Angered by the incident, king Janamya decided to organize a Yagna. The Yagna was to remove the Naga clan from the world. As the Yagna proceeded, Astika Rishi came and stopped the Yagna. We celebrate the day on which Astika Rishi interfered with the Yagna as Naga Panchami.
Another legend relating to Naga Panchami is that it is on that day, Lord Krishna killed Kaliya Nag or snake. Lord Krishna removed Kailya from the world to protect the people belonging to Gokul. Devotees believe that we celebrate Naga Panchami on that basis.
How do we celebrate Naga Panchami?: Celebrations of Naga Panchami differ according to the regions in India. As we have already discussed, devotees offer milk to live snakes or figures of serpents. In some parts, they offer rice pudding and lotus flower placed in silver bowls to the Nagas.
During the Naga Panchami, it is essential to clean our houses. We can conduct Naga pujas as well. You can place the image of Naga Deva or an idol and organize the prayers. It is beneficial to light lamps during the Naga Panchami. You can also perform Sankalpa during the Naga pujas.
There are places where people draw Rangolis of serpents in their houses as part of the festival. They make these Rangolis using natural colors. In some areas, people draw images of snakes in front of their homes or on the door. In certain villages, people go on searching for anthills. They offer incenses and milk in front of these anthills. They also pour milk into the anthills as a way of conveying their reverence. There are various other ways of celebrating Naga Panchami as well.
Significance of Naga Panchami: There are countless significances associated with Naga Panchami. Here, we will look at some of the most relevant points.
1. By celebrating Naga Panchami and offering milk to the Naga Devas, we can overcome the "Kaal Sarp Dosh" in our horoscopes.
2. Many people fast on the day of Naga Panchami. The reason behind it is that they can overcome their fear of snakes and snakebites.
3. During the time of Naga Panchami, it is the rainy season. Snakes leave their burrows during that time as they would be submerged in water. There are chances of snakes attacking humans out of fear. You can overcome such situations by feeding them milk or sweets. As snakes have sharp memories, they would remember the person who offered them milk or food. So, the snakes would not attack these people. It is yet another reason why people celebrate and provide food to snakes during Naga Panchami.
4. Naga Panchami and the pujas we conduct in association with it show that it is essential for us to respect all forms of life. There should not be any indifference in viewing other living things. We have to consider them equal to us.
5. During Naga Panchami, we must not dig the ground. It is taboo. It is because it can lead to the death of snakes.
6. Naga Panchami is also known as Bhatru Panchami. Here, women offer milk to snakes as a way of protecting their brothers from any danger.
Thus, Naga Panchami is a Hindu festival of great importance. Devotees perform different pujas and provide offerings to snakes. We can attain happiness, prosperity, and well-being by taking part in this festival for ourselves and our families.