Introduction: Religious aspects are boundless so as the diverse festive occasions are, specifically in India since it is a land of diversity where zillions inhabitants live with harmony, respect enjoying cordial relationship. Like idols, creatures are also worshiped by Hindu devotees since they have reverence similar to god for everyone. Nag Panchami is a religious festival of Hindus on which people feed serpents or snakes with milk and kheer. Snakes are believed to be the creature hailing from Patal-lok which incarnated for the goodness and welfare of living beings.
Other names of the festive eve ‘Nag Panchami’: Vishari Puja or Bishari Puja and Bhratru Panchami
Testimonial scriptures: Agni Puran, Skanda Puran, Narada Puran and epic ‘Mahabharata’
Observing nations and places:
Occurrence: The Hindu festival ‘Nag Panchami’ is celebrated on the fifth day of a bright half lunar month of the Hindu month ‘Shravan’ and in July or August as per Gregorian calendar.
As per Hindu mythology, King Parishkrit’s son ‘Janmajeya’ got furious over his father’s uncertain death due to being stung by a snake Takshak. The son took pledge for taking avenge of his father’s death via performing the ritual ‘Sarpa Satra’ that dragged all snakes to the fireplace of ‘Havan’ except Takshak from every nook of the galaxy via the mantra-power. Takshak coiled itself tightly to one foot of the deity Indra’s cot. At this, the group of sages increased the tempo of their mantra-recitation which dragged the Takshak to the ‘Havan-venue’ near fire-place along with the cot. The watch-dogs deities urged to Mansadevi for intervening and pacifying the rage of ‘Janmajeya’. Overwhelmed Mansadevi, sent her son Astika to Janmajeya where he impressed him with his vast knowledge of Shastras (scriptures) and ensured a boon. Afterwards, Astika requested Janmajeya to stop the holy ritual held for punishing Takshak. The king was famous for not to step back from the granted boon given to a Brahmin so he had to stop his ritual. Hence, Indra and the race of serpents were spared by the king. Indra also rushed to Mansadevi and prayed the deity.
As per prevalent folk tale, once one of the two sons of a farmer beat and brought pulp out of a snake while ploughing the field. The mother of the serpent decided to take revenge of losing her baby serpent by stinging two sons, the farmer and his wife. But left the daughter bereaved and grieved over the death of her kins. The daughter pleaded before serpent mother for granting her kins pardon by offering milk in a bowl. The pleased serpent mother forgave the family of the farmer and breathed the life to their dead bodies.
Customary rituals: On the day of Nag Panchami, people tend to worship serpents with the offerings consisting milk & sweet and lit earthen lamp as well before the idol or statue of Nag Devtas. Some observe fast the entire day and feed Brahmins with a concealing urge of assuring protection from snake-biting to deity.
Get off the practice of digging the earth is a myth or taboo which concludes that the snakes residing inside the womb of the earth could be harmed while doing so. Snake-fair is also held at some places. The special attraction of this festival is to offer a lotus flower in a silver bowl in front of which rangoli is drawn carving five hooded of the snake using sandalwood or turmeric on the floor.
The snake-charmers do also follow the customary practice of releasing the caught snakes after the span of one year and afterwards, they seek the snakes from the anthills since they are believed to being housed in them.