Naga Panchami Quick Facts
|Festival Name||Naga Panchami (नाग पंचमी)|
|Festival Date||21 August 2023|
|Festival Observed by||Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists|
History of Naga Panchami
Nag Panchami is a major festival of Hindus. According to the Hindu calendar, Panchami of the Krishna Paksha of the month of Sawan is celebrated as Nag Panchami. On this day, Nag Devta or snake is worshiped and he is bathed and fed with milk.
The history of Nagpanchami festival is very ancient and it is considered important in Hinduism. This festival is associated with Puranas, myths, and legends. One of the main purposes of Nagpanchami is to worship and worship the serpent god. The serpent god is considered important in Hindu mythology and is considered to be a symbol of unique qualities in culture, tradition, and science. According to Kidwanti, when the Pandavas had to go into exile during the Mahabharata period, they received the education of a Gandharva Nagaraja Astika near Varanasi. Astika told him about the importance and worship of Nagarajas. After this the festival of Nagpanchami started, which people celebrate even today.
Story of Naga Panchami
A famous story associated with Nag Panchami is 'Ashtik Ki Katha'. According to this legend, there was a Brahmin named the palace priest who used to praise Nagraj Vasuki. One day he organized a huge Yagya in the palace and invited all the gods for this Yagya. While the yagya strategy was going on, suddenly the journey of Nagraj Vasuki and his sons started. Vasuki and his family reached the place of the yagya and requested the Brahmin to include them in the yagya. But the Brahmins decided not to include the serpents in the yagya, considering them to be powerless. In this situation, the snakes were very sad and they went back.
In this situation a young man named 'Ashtik' was troubled by the ignorance of his mother and decided to appreciate the serpents. Ashtika went to the place of sacrifice and humbly prayed to the Brahmin to include the serpents in the sacrifice and give them respect. After Ashtika's prayer the Brahmin included the serpents in the yagya and praised them. This freed the serpents and Vasuki and his family entered heaven. After this incident, on the day of Nag Panchami, people worship and respect the snake deities and apologize to them. This famous legend reflects the importance of Nag Panchami and the reverence and devotion towards the serpent deities.
Significance of Naga Panchami
Nagpanchami is a major festival celebrated in Hinduism. This festival is celebrated to worship Lord Vishnu's vehicle, the serpent (naga) of Lord Krishna. This festival is a symbol of reverence and respect for the serpent god in culture and tradition. It is celebrated with great pomp in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, such as western and northern India. The importance of Nag Panchami is that by worshiping, praying and fasting of snakes on this day, people get the blessings of Nagrajs and get freedom from snake defects. On the day of Nag Panchami, people worship Nagraj with Nagmani, vermilion, flowers, incense, lamp etc. and offer them milk, milk trees, Panchamrit, fruits, sweets etc. Apart from this, by opening the bandanas of Nagraj, he releases them and apologizes to them. The purpose of Nag Panchami is to seek the blessings of the snake god with devotion, worship, respect and honor. Through this festival, people wish for happiness and prosperity by getting freedom from snake defect.
How to celebrate Naga Panchami
Nagpanchami is celebrated as a special religious and cultural festival in the Hindu society. The festival is celebrated in different forms in different parts of India, but some key substances and actions are followed.
Worship:People visit the temples of Nagarajas (serpent deities) to worship and worship the idols of the serpent deity. They are offered milk, gangajal, milk, tilak, lamp, flowers, panchamrit (mixture of gangajal, milk, curd, honey, ghee), akshat (rice paddy grains), fruits, coconut, paan, bangles, incense, and aarti. They offer clothes.
Fasting: Some people observe Nagpanchami Vrat and fast on the day of Nagpanchami. They worship the serpent deity with reverence and devotion and give food as prasad to other members of the society.
Nag Yatra: In some areas, Nag Yatra is organized on the day of Nagpanchami. In this, snake idols are decorated and taken out on special swings and devotees worship them. The yatra starts from schools or temples and takes place in different parts of the city.
Nag Puja Griha: Some people set up a Nag Puja Griha (a small set-up of a snake idol) in their homes on the day of Nagpanchami. The idol of the serpent deity is installed in this house and worshipped.
Tradition and customs of Naga Panchami
Nag Panchami is a Hindu festival that is celebrated with various rituals and customs. The exact rituals may vary depending on the region and community, but here are some common practices associated with Nag Panchami:
Worshiping Snake Idols: On Nag Panchami, people worship snake idols or images. These can be in the form of statues or pictures of Nag Devatas (snake deities). The idols are bathed with milk, water, and other auspicious substances, and then adorned with flowers, turmeric, and sandalwood paste.
Offering Milk: Milk is considered a sacred offering for Nag Devatas. Devotees pour milk over the snake idols or images as a symbol of worship and devotion. Some people also offer other items such as honey, rice, and sweets to the Nag Devatas.
Snake Puja: Special prayers and rituals are performed to invoke the blessings of Nag Devatas. Mantras and hymns dedicated to Nag Devatas are chanted during the puja. Priests or knowledgeable individuals may conduct the puja ceremony, while devotees participate by offering prayers and making offerings.
Fasting: Some people observe a fast on Nag Panchami as a mark of devotion. They abstain from consuming food and water for the entire day. The fast is broken after performing the necessary rituals and prayers associated with Nag Panchami.
Visiting Snake Temples: Devotees visit temples dedicated to Nag Devatas on Nag Panchami. They offer prayers, perform rituals, and seek blessings. Famous snake temples such as Nageshwar Jyotirlinga in Gujarat, Mannarasala Temple in Kerala, and Subramanya Swamy Temple in Andhra Pradesh are popular pilgrimage sites during this festival.
Applying Turmeric and Vermilion: Devotees often apply turmeric and vermilion (kumkum) on their foreheads, as these are considered auspicious symbols associated with snakes. Some may draw snake patterns or symbols using these substances.
Snake Charmer Shows: In certain regions, snake charmer shows are organized as part of Nag Panchami festivities. These shows feature skilled individuals who handle and display live snakes. It is believed to be a form of homage to Nag Devatas.
It's important to note that while Nag Panchami is celebrated by many, snakes are protected species, and it is advisable to avoid any practices that harm or exploit snakes. Instead, the focus should be on promoting awareness, conservation, and reverence for these creatures during the festival.
More info about Naga Panchami
Celebration of Nagpanchami is done in different ways. This shows that the beliefs and practices of Nagpanchami can change in different regions and communities according to their local cultural traditions.
In the South Indian states, devotees stand in a riot at the call of Nagraj. They are blessed by the grace of the deity by worshiping the deity with devotion. After this, he is offered money, flowers, and food as prasad.
In Gujarat, on the day of Nagpanchami Jal-Jeevani (somewhere with live snakes also known as Saanpwada) is organized. People worship Nagraj in the court and offer milk, flowers and snake-gray to Nagraj as prasad.
In Rajasthan, Nagpanchami is also called "Madhumash" and a Madhumash fair is organized on the occasion. In the fair, people enjoy various games, dance-songs and organize colorful festivities. The idols of Nagraj are also decorated and people worship them.
In North India, Nagpanchami is celebrated as Sarpetiya Vrat. In this fast, mothers fast their children called Sarpetiya. They worship the serpent god and offer him offerings in the form of milk, fruits and sweets.
List of major festivals:
|13 January 2024||Lohri|
|14 January 2024||Makar Sankranti|
|9 April 2024 - 17 April 2024||Chaitra Navratri|
|11 April 2024||Gangaur|
|17 April 2024||Ram Navami|
|17 September 2023||Lord Vishwakarma Jayanti|
|24 October 2023||Vijayadashami|
|9 April 2024||Gudi Padwa|
|30 August 2023||Raksha Bandhan|
|15 October 2023 - 24 October 2023||Navratri|
|20 October 2023 - 24 October 2023||Durga Puja|
|10 November 2023||Dhan Teras|
|21 August 2023||Naga Panchami|
|23 April 2024||Hanuman Jayanti|