Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day in the month of the moonlit fortnight of Shrawan or Nepal according to the Hindu Calendar. Either in the late July or early August each year. On this day, the worshippers visit temples and pay their respect to real snakes offering them milk, sweets, and flowers to the snakes.
Although the exact origin of this festival is uncertain, the believers celebrate it for several reasons. According to the hindu mythology, Sheshnaga or Snake with Six hoods is the vehicle of the Lord Vishnu. And when Sheshnaga shakes his head we have earthquakes.
On this day, the believers also stick the poster of a snake on their main house door with cowdung in Nepal. It may have been beleved this custom came from “Naga ” Clan of 3000 BC. Later, Indo-Aryans began to follow the tradition and even found they mentioned in the Hindu Puranas. Although Yajur-Veda provides a more defined account of serpent worship, many scholars have detected traces of this festival in the 8th Ashtaka of the Rig Veda.
In the medieval times, snakes were carved or painted on the walls of many Hindu temples. The mendtions or Nagas is also found in the Mahabharata and also in the sacred Hindu text BhagavatGita. The Hindu Puranas also mention the Nagas.
It is the time when snakes leave their holes in the flooded fields and jungles and enter the habitations of men thereby throwing them into great consternation. In countries like Nepal where agriculture is one of the major sources of income for so many men die due to the snakebite. The people of the country-side labor under the impression that the only way of obtaining immunity from snakebite is by propitaing the snake-goddess Manasa. In a country like Nepal, when the crops attain their full growth and the harvest is ready to be reaped, laborers work in the field all by themselves exposing themselves to the bites of poisonous snakes lurking unseen among the dense crop.
This fear seems to be the main cause of the celebration of Nagapanchami. Propitiating the snake god provides some psychological succour to the poor ruler fold whose main occupation remains agriculture.
To learn more about the festivities, culture of Nepal visit our websites. We offer customized packages for your travels to Nepal. Contact Us and for the packato find out more about the offers and deals for your next trip.
If you want to learn more about other festivities here are some popular ones:
- Deepwali: Festival of Lights
- Gai Jatra: The Procession of the Cow
- Significance of Janai Purnima or Rakshya Bandhan
Photo source: The Himalayantimes