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Nagapanchami is a traditional festival celebrated across India on fifth day (Panchami) of Shravana month of the Lunar calendar. Nagapanchami festival is related to the worship of snakes.
The custom of snake-worship is believed to have come from the ancient period. In India, snakes are so valued that temples have been built in their honor. Snake worship is associated with many Hindu gods like Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu etc.
We can find writings on nagas and Sarpas in the Mahabharata and the Bhagavadgita. . Indian scriptures such as Agni Purana, Skanda Purana, Narada Purana give details of history of snakes extolling worship of snakes. We can also find many writings on snake worship in Vedas. We can find snake carvings and paintings on the walls of many Hindu temples.
One of the myth states that a deadly snake Kalia had been poisoning the river Yamuna making it difficult for the brijwasis to drink water. Lord Krishna then takes down Kalia and defeats him. Kalia is forced to take back all the poison from the river, and in return Lord Krishna blesses him saying whosoever will offer milk and prayers to the snakes on this day (Nag Panchami) would be relieved of all his troubles and sins.
According to Garuda Purana offering prayers to snake on this day is auspicious and will usher good tidings in one’s life.
It is also a popular belief among st people in Hindu religion that thousand-headed Shesh Naga who symbolizes Eternity holds the entire spherical earth on it head. Also, that it is the resting couch of Lord Vishnu, one of three most important gods of Hindu religion. In Jainism and Buddhism snake is regarded as sacred creature with divine qualities. It is because some ancient texts say that a Cobra snake saved the life of Buddha and the Jain Muni Parshwanath.
Celebration of Nagpanchami:
On Naga Panchami day, people wake up early, takes head bathe, wear traditional clothes and worship snake god. Mainly people prefer snake idols made of clay or silver etc., to perform Pooja at their home. They use milk, turmeric, kumkum and flowers to perform religious rituals ensuring their families freedom from danger of snakes. Some People even do fasting on the day of Nagpanchami. Even some People bathe the snakes with milk as per the tradition and believe that if the snake drinks milk, they are blessed.
Festivals play a significant role in our day to day lives. We worship different Gods and accordingly there are different festivals that we celebrate to mark the occasion. Festivals provide us with an opportunity to spend quality time with our family, friends and relatives. There are so many rituals attached to the festivals and this makes the entire concept of celebration of festivals even more colorful & exciting.
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