Snakes or Nagas have always occupied a significant position in Hindu mythology and religious rites. The cobra is taken to be the symbol of the Nagas. Nag Panchami is the Hindu festival held in India to worship the snakes. It is celebrated in Nepal and most parts of India, especially by married ladies. The village of Shirale in Maharashtra is famous for its unique traditions observed during the festival.

Nag Panchami 2017 was on July 27 Thursday

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Nag Panchami

Nag Panchami

The legend about Naga Panchami

The roots of the festival of Nag Panchami can be found in Hindu scriptures. The Nagas were born of the third wife of Kashyap who is the son of Brahma – the creator. So, the Nagas were stepbrothers to the gods or the Devatas. They ruled the underworld or the Patal loka. Eight major Nagas have been described in the scriptures. One of them was Kaliya who was evil. When Krishna – the incarnation of Lord Vishnu was only a boy, he defeated Kaliya and danced on his head, putting an end to his misdeeds. Nag Panchami marks the day on which Krishna defeated Kaliya.

Alternatively, it is thought that the Nagas were a tribe who lived during the Indus Valley civilization and worshipped snakes. When the Aryan civilization became well established in India, the Nagas were absorbed in the Aryan population and remnants of their rituals were adopted by the Aryans as Nag Panchami. Nag Panchami is also celebrated by the Hindus of Nepal. Here, the legend says that Kathmandu valley used to be a lake occupied by the snakes or the Nagas. When people tried to settle here, the Nagas became enraged. So, they were worshipped and given special places of ritualistic significance to live in.

When is Naga Panchami celebrated?

Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day (panchami) in shukla paksha (i.e. in the bright half, after the new moon) of the month of Shravana. This falls in July or August.

Nag Panchami is known as Guga Navami.

The rituals of Nag Panchami

Though Nag Panchami is celebrated all over India, the festival has gained greater distinction in certain parts. The various rituals followed are as follows:

  • In Nepal, Nag Panchami is a popular festival. Pictures of Nagas are placed on door to ward off evil. Foods like milk and honey are placed in fields infested with the Nagas. Some people roam the streets wearing demon masks.
  • Nag Panchami is an important festival in South India. It is also used to celebrate the blessings of siblings. Married ladies generally visit their father's home for the ritual. They get up early in the morning, bathe and offer puja to ant hills which are the homes of the snakes. Live cobra or idols of the cobra are worshipped. Milk is the most common offering and a part of the milk is brought back as Prasad. Flowers are immersed in this milk and ladies apply it to their brother's backs.
  • In Shirale near Mumbai, snakes are dug out and fed with milk and rats. They are carried to temple in containers where puja is performed.
  • A common ritual is that swings are tied to trees for the ladies.

Important Timings On Nag Panchami

Sunrise27-Jul-2017 05:59 AM
Sunset27-Jul-2017 19:07 PM
Panchami Tithi Begins27-Jul-2017 07:01 AM
Panchami Tithi Ends28-Jul-2017 06:38 AM
Place : Ujjain [ India ] Time Zone : IST (+05:30)

Nag Panchami festival dates between 2014 & 2024

YearDate
2014Friday, 1st of August
2015Wednesday, 19th of August
2016Sunday, 7th of August
2017Thursday, 27th of July
2018Wednesday, 15th of August
2019Monday, 5th of August
2020Saturday, 25th of July
2021Friday, 13th of August
2022Tuesday, 2nd of August
2023Monday, 21st of August
2024Friday, 9th of August
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