What is Nag Panchami?
Serpent worship is quite common in India. Nag Panchami is a special day to worship the Snake God, and is celebrated across India and Nepal. The word Nag means snakes and Panchami means the fifth day. Snakes are offered milk and rice and prayers are offered to give protection to the family and the clan in totality. The festival is celebrated in a special way in south Maharashtra and Bengal. In West Bengal, Assam and some parts of Orissa, the mother of serpents, Goddess Mansa, is worshipped. In Kerala too, snakes are worshipped.
The significance of Nag Panchami:
Snakes enjoy an important role in Hindu Mythology as they are also considered to be the residents of Patal Loka or Nag Loka. The scriptures treat snakes as a community. The planets like Rahu and Ketu significantly impact people’s lives.
Goddess Manasa Devi, the Snake Goddess, is offered prayers on this day. Her temple stands on Bilwa Parvat in the Sivalik Hills. Supposedly, Goddess Manasa Devi manifested from Lord Shiva’s mind. She is also the sister of the snake, Vasuki. Being the ruler of the mind, Manasa Devi fulfills the genuine desires of her devotees.
Many Hindu gods are depicted with snakes. Vishnu sleeps on Seshnag, the king of snakes. Lord Shiva has a snaked coiled around his neck. Temples dedicated to Goddess Parvati often have anthills occupied by snakes. People regard serpents as Mother Durga. Even Ganesh and Subramanya are shown with snakes.
The History behind Nag Panchami:
According to mythology, a deadly snake, Kalia, was troubling people and poisoning the Yamuna river. Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, fought with Kalia and ordered the serpent to remove the poison out of the river. Kalia removed all the poison from the river and Krishna, in return, declared that on this day, whosoever offers milk and prayers to snakes, will get expiation for their sins. Thus, from then onwards, the day was celebrated as Nagpanchami day.
Rituals of Nag Panchami
People worship serpents in many ways. In many houses, the snake is made of cow dung, and special rituals are performed on the snake. In temples, various rituals and a special session of prayers are also held. People also offer milk and eggs to the serpents to get rid of their negative afflictions.
Benefits of celebrating Nag Panchami
People worship serpents on this day to clear any obstacles caused by the negative or malefic movement of serpent planets known as Rahu and Ketu. People also try to appease the serpent Gods for positivity in life.
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