New Delhi: Nag Panchami, a Hindu festival where snakes are worshipped, is celebrated today in the holy month of Shraavana across most part of India.
Some people also celebrate the day as Garuda Panchami. People perform Rudrabhishek on this auspicious day and pray.
The festival is celebrated on the fifth day after Amavasya or moonlit-fortnight of Shraavana.
Nag Panchami is a day to offer milk and prayers to serpents (snakes). The serpent god also called as Nag Devta is worshipped by women for their brothers by offering it milk.
It is celebrated because Shravan is the month of peak monsoon and during this time, snakes often come out of their holes as rainwater seeps in. They can harm humans on the ground by biting them to protect themselves. In order to prevent this, Nag Panchami is made.
Snakes are of great importance in Hindu mythology. There are numerous stories in the mythology regarding snakes, primarily about Sheshnag of Lord Shiva. It is believed that the entire earth is balanced on Sheshnag’s back. People worship the snakes on this day to ensure their families are protected from the danger of snakes.
The festival Nag Panchami began when Takshaka, the king of snakes bit Janamejaya’s father Parikshit and killed him. To avenge his death Janamejaya conducted yagnas to pray for the eradication of the entire snake race. The day this yagna was stopped because of the intervention of Astika, who was also the Brahmin son of Jaratkarus, is the day since when Nag Panchami is observed.
Snakes are also given importance as Lord Shiva wears them around his neck as an ornament.
Some people relate the celebration of Nag Panchami with Lord Krishna’s victory over Kaliya Naag in River Yamuna.