Charming the Snakes in Nag Panchami, India
When it happens: July 24; 5th day of Shraavana
Where it happens: South India
Nag Panchami, India is a festival held in some parts of India to worship live cobras (Nagas) or their images. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Shraavana. During this time, young married women visit their premarital families to celebrate the festival. The celebration involves cheerful swinging of young women on swings that are temporarily hung on the branches of the trees. It is an important festival when serpents come out of their holes and enjoy rain-water as they look for shelter in gardens. They are worshipped on this day as they impose great dangers to men.
About the Festival
During the Nag Panchami, India, married women as well as the girls are obliged to wake up early in the morning and take a head bath. They are required to arrange all the necessary things for the puja (prayers) and start to head to the nearest snake’s home known as the Ant Hill. Then, they offer milk and puja to the Snake God known as the Indian Cobra or the Incarnation of lord Subramanya. All these they do to for the wellness of their brothers and other members of their families. They also offer puja and milk to snake statues if there are no nearby Ant Hills.
A portion of milk is taken back home to be offered to the family as prasadam, meaning Lord’s mercy. In addition, they invite their brothers to their homes and immerse a flower in the milk. Then, they apply this to the back of their brothers and perform a religious worship dedicated for their well-being. They also give them presents according to their wishes and they can do the same for them.
There are a number of things you can try during the Nag Panchami, India. You can try sweets such as Kadubu which is a steamed dumpling. Nuchununde which is a spicy item made of beans is also prepared. These foods are often offered to the Lord and distributed. The festival is observed after the Amavasya of the month of Ashada. It tries to bring married and unmarried sisters and their brother together for the welfare of the family. Another thing you should look forward to this day is the snake charmers. A number of them are in great demand on this day. You can see people bathe a snake with milk with the accompaniment of the music of the charmers.
The Nag Panchami, India is believed to be one of the luckiest days of the year. It holds great importance in the Hindu mythology. In other places in India, the celebration is observed with a parade of dancing, singing, and merrymaking. You can also attend fairs, dance and music, gymnastic performances, and magic shows. These are the major highlights of the festival. In order to bring good fortune, you should not miss this unique celebration of the Indian religion and culture.
Dates for Nag Panchami 2013 is Sunday August 11, 2013 (8/11/2013)