Nag Panchami is a unique festival in Hindu culture. Hinduism is not just a religion but a package of rituals, traditions, and unique festivals around the world. Hinduism is known for worshipping nature, animals, and civilized rituals. Nag Panchami is one of the unique festivals in Hindu culture, which is all about admiring and worshipping snakes.
The term Nag refers to the snakes that are considered holy. Naag Devta is considered a snake god, which is said to be protecting the prosperity and wealth of the person. Nag Panchami falls on the Shrawan month of the Hindu Calendar, which is the month of monsoon in India and Nepal. Panchami means the fifth day in between the consecutive full moon and new moon day. Nag Panchami is observed in Panchami tithi of Sukla Pakshya in Shrawan. There are unique styles of celebrations of Nag Panchami. Every ethnic group, that worships the snakes does observe Nag Panchami, even if it is considered a Hindu festival.
History and Mythology of Nag Panchami
Hindu Mythology are connected with respecting the nature, and animals. In ancient holy books and tales, animals used to be the Baahan (Vehicle) for the gods to roam around. So, people worshipped gods and animals too. There are a lot of festivals, Melas, and traditions where they worship animals in the name of respect for their service and helpfulness.
In Nepal, there is one religion of some specific ethnic groups. The Eastern Nepal Rai and Limbu, who follow the Kirati region worship nature. They consider nature as their god. Nature provides us with food, shelter, and basic needs to be alive, so, it’s our duty to worship nature and conserve it. Kirati also worships animals for their contributions. Dogs, Cows, Cros, Ox, and Snakes are the animals that are worshipped in Nepal and India by the Hindu community.
The most powerful god, Mahadev had also worn a snake as a garland. Vishnu also had his shelter under the Snake’s shade, which was a giant cobra. In ancient holy books and tales, it is also mentioned that snakes used to be the part of protections and defenses in the Shastra Astra of the warriors. So, the snake is considered a holy animal in Hindu culture. The deeds of snakes are even mentioned in the famous Garud Puran, which is recited after the death of a person during the death ritual.
Did you know? Nag Panchami and Janai Purnima are significant festivals that take pilgrims to Gosai Kunda.
One of the myths, about the Nag Panchami celebration during the rainy season, is to counter the possibility of snakebites during the rainy season, which is also known as the season of snakes.
Another mythology prevalent in Kathmandu valley- on the day before Nag Panchami the Nag who lives in Tau Daha (a holy lake located in Kirtipur municipality, Kathmandu) travels above the cloudburst towards Gosaikunda, another holy lake located in Rasuwa district, Nepal. The Nag is believed to take a holy bath in Gosaikunda on the day of Nag Panchami.
Scientific Significance of Nag Panchami
Not only cultural and mythology, but there has also been some scientific significance of the Nag Panchami. People are scared of snakes by their general appearance. Snake is an animal with a dangerous-looking appearance on its body and most snakes are even venomous. But, the scientific significance of the snakes is that snakes consume the deadly poisons of nature and make us safe. There are many species of snakes in nature, ranging from small-sized to giant Python and anaconda.
Snakes are reptiles, and they do not harm humankind without any interference. But, people get frightened by the appearance of the snakes and kill them. Nag Panchami is not just a festival, but it even teaches us to preserve animals and not kill them. Snakes are very useful creatures of the nation and as they do not harm us until we interfere with them, they are not even that dangerous. Most of the snakes that are found in the world are poisonless as per scientific studies, but people cannot distinguish the species and kill every kind of snake.
Even snake venom antidotes are made from the venom of snakes. There are antidotes and medicare for almost all kinds of snake bites in the world. So, the study of snakes and preserving them has to be taught to every person. This is the scientific significance of the Nag Panchami festival.
Where is Nag Panchami Celebrated?
Snakes are worshipped in many parts of the world, but the specific Nag Panchami festival is observed in Hindu communities all over the world. Nepal and India are the countries, where Nag Panchami is celebrated by the majority.
Nag Panchami is also known as Naga Chaturthi or Nagul Chaviti. Some of the Hindu communities in Myanmar and Bhutan also celebrate the Nag Panchami festival. There are different rituals of serving Nag Panchami in different countries and communities.
Nag Panchami is a specific day but People also perform Naag Puja, which is usually done in the agricultural fields and near water resources during the months of Asaar and Mangsir. These are the cultivation months in Nepal and India. It is believed that snakes even do protect our cultivation from insects and rats and water resources from venoms.
How is Nag Panchami Celebrated?
Nag Panchami is celebrated by visiting the nearby Naag temples and ponds. There are many ponds and dahas in Nepal and India, in the respect of Snakes, the ponds are named Naag Pokhari, Naag Kunda, or Naag Daha.
People make various dishes for the Snakes and serve them. pints of milk is usually served to the Cobras and other snakes or some people offer milk in the statue of snakes. They make different kinds of recipes such as Lava ( Roasted Paddy Grains) and offer it to the snakes. They donate goods to the poor and needy with respect to the snakes.
People paste the Nag in front of their doors or entrance to ensure the protection of their wealth and counter the snake biting inside the houses. Nag is considered a holy paper in which snakes, schools, venomous insects, and some mantras are printed. The paper is pasted on the door front of houses with holy cow dungs and Dubos and flowers by the holy priest of Hindus. In this way, Nag Panchami is celebrated.
How to Draw Nag Poster for Nag Panchami
You can engage kids at your home to make nag poster for Nag Panchami.The drawing process is super easy. Dipesh has written an article dedicated towards the whole process of drawing nag panchami poster at home.
Nag Panchami Mantra/Stotra
Nag Panchami Mantra includes two stotras: one for five Vajravaarakas and another one of Asta-naag. Vajravaarakas are 5 Hindu saints believed to have power to stop Bajra- one of the strongest forces of destruction). They are namely- Jaimini, Sumanta, Vaishampayan, Pularatya, and Pulaha. These 8 major Serpents are Vasuki, Padma, Karkotaka, Takshaka, Mahapadma, Sankhapala, Kulika, and Shesha (aka Ananta). Please find the Nag Panchami Stotra below.
|Nag Panchami Mantra/Stotra|
Conclusion and Final Verdict
This article was all about the importance of snakes to the environment, a celebration of the Nag Panchami festival all around the world, and the mythology and significance behind it. Snakes play a role in this universe’s ecosystem and are one of the most useful and dangerous living beings. We should have information about the snakes, save the snake, and be safe from snakes. There are a lot of hotlines or snake rescuers to preserve the snakes. We have to help them and shouldn’t kill the snakes. Thank you for reading this article.