Naag Panchami (Devanagari: नागपन्चमी) is a festival during which Hindus in Nepal and some parts of India worship live Naaga’s (snakes) or images of them. It is celebrated on the fifth day after Amavasya (Black Moon Day) of the month of Shraavana. Traditionally, Farmers are worshiping in the source of the water spring for their long and uninterrupted water flow and save their farm from being dry or from bad weather. In India, married young women visit their premarital households to celebrate the festival. Especially in villages, an aspect of the celebration involves women swinging on swings hung on tree branches.
According to Puranic scriptures (Hindu Epics), Brahma’s son Kashyapa had four wives. The first wife gave birth to Devas; the second to Garudas; the third to Nagas; and the fourth to Daityas. Nagas were the rulers of Patal-Loka.
The names of the Nine Great Nagas are: Ananta, Vasuki, Shesha, Padmanabha, Kambala, Shankhapala, Dhartarashtra, Takshaka, and Kaliya:
According to the scriptures, Lord Krishna conquered Naga Kaliya and put an end to the evil deeds on this day (Naga Panchami). Tradition says that Kathmandu valley used to be a vast lake. When human beings started to drain the lake to make space for settlements, Nagas became enraged. To protect themselves against the wrath of Nagas, people gave the latter certain areas as pilgrimage destinations, thus restoring harmony in nature. According to other scriptures[which?], a king used his Tantric powers to force Nagas to return to the land and control the rains. The Nagas complied, but in recognition of their power to control the rains, the king established the Naga Panchami festival.
In Jainism and Buddhism the snake is regarded as sacred and has divine qualities. It is believed that a Cobra snake saved the life of Buddha; another protected Jain Muni Parshwanath.
Celebration, rituals and tradition:
During the festival, Nepalese people traditionally place pictures of Nagas above the doors of their homes to ward off evil spirits, offer prayers to Nagas, and place food items such as cow’s milk and honey in their fields for Nagas. A few men wearing demon masks dance in the streets as a part of a ritual. Hindus in Nepal have their own legends surrounding Nagas, which lead them to celebrate Naga Panchami on a large scale.
In South India :
Nag Panchami is a festival that brings siblings together to celebrate their family’s well-being. This festival is observed on the fifth day of Shravana month of the Hindu lunar calendar after the amavasya of Aashaadha month.
On this day, married women and girls wake up early in the morning to bathe, arrange for puja, and go to the nearest ant hill (snake’s home). They perform puja to the snake’s home and pray to the Snake God (Indian Cobra – Murugan’s incarnation) for the wellness of their families. If there is no ant hill nearby, they offer puja to snake statues erected in nearby temples. A portion of milk used for puja is taken back home and offered to everyone as prasad.
Sweets like Kadubu (Kannada, Kudumulu in Telugu) and Nuchununde (Kanduntalu in Telugu) are prepared, offered to Lord Krishna, and then distributed among guests.