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Nag Panchami (24-July-2012)

Nag-Panchami is an important all-India festival and is celebrated on the fifth day of the moonlit-fortnight (After Amavashya) in the month of Shravan (July /August).  This is the time when snakes invariably come out of their holes that get inundated with rain-water to seek shelter ingardens and many times in houses. As such they pose a great danger to man. Maybe therefore snakes are worshiped on this day.

According to our panchang, it should be celebrated on 24th July,2012 but few other thinks panchami starts on 23rd July.



The most popular legend is about Lord Krishna when he was just a young boy. When playing the game of throwing the ball with his cowherd friends, the legend goes to tell how the ball fell into Yamuna River and how Krishna vanquished Kalia Serpent and saved the people from drinking the poisonous water by forcing Kalia to go away.

Krishna - Kaliya

Another legend is that on this day, while tilling his land, a farmer accidentally killed some young serpents. The mother of these serpents took revenge by biting and killing the farmer and his family, except one daughter, who happened to be praying to the Nagas. This act of devotion resulted in the revival of the farmer and the rest of his family. Since then, Nag Panchami has been celebrated in India. It is believed that in reward for worship, snakes will never bite any member of the family. 

In West Bengal and parts of Assam and Orissa, the snake deity worshipped on Naga Panchami is the goddess Manasa.

In Jainism and Buddhism also snake is regarded as sacred and has divine qualities. It is believed that a Cobra snake saved the life of Buddha and another protected the Jain Muni Parshwanath.

How does Naag Panchami gets celebrated in India?

Naag panchami is observed and celebrated in different ways in various parts of India.

Women fast on this day. They also draw pictures and images of snakes on walls of their houses with a mixture of cowdung, milk and black powder. Offerings of milk, ghee, sweets, water and rice are also made at the sites of snake holes. Devotees consider themselves lucky if snakes drink offered milks. Some places, figures of Navnag (nine cobras) are drawn with turmeric or raktachandan (red sandalwood) on a wooden seat and are worshipped; they are offered naivedya of milk and parched rice.

In South India, this day is like RakshaBandhan for South Indian Hindus. On this day, married women and the girls offer puja and milk and pray to Snake God (Indian Cobra - Lord Subramanya's Incarnation) for the wellness of their brothers and their families. They invite their brothers to their home. They immerse a flower in the leftover milk and apply it on their brothers' back and perform Arathi for their wellbeing. Sweets like Kadubu (Kannada, Kudumulu in Telugu), Nuchununde (Kannada, Kanduntalu in Telugu - a spicy item made of dal cooked in steam) are prepared, offered to Lord and then distributed.

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