northern lights

northern lights
image

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Nag Panchami Festival

Today is the 14th day of the 'A to Z challenge of words. I am presenting the festival, Naag Panchami .

Nag Panchami is a festival which is celebrated through out India in the month of August. Snakes and serpents are worshiped on this day.Perhaps it is the inherent fear of snakes in the minds of men, which makes them worship the snakes.There are several myths associated with this festival. It is one the most ancient fasts which is observed by Hindus.There are a number of legends associated with Naga Pancahmi. One has it that on this day, while tilling his land, a farmer accidentally killed some young serpents. The mother of these serpents took revenge by biting and killing the farmer and his family, except one daughter, who happened to be praying to the Nagas. This act of devotion resulted in the revival of the farmer and the rest of his family. Since then, Nag Panchami has been celebrated  in India. It is believed that in reward for worship, snakes will never bite any member of the family. 
            
In mythology and ancient Puranas  a reference has been made about snake worship at many places. In India, snakes are so much  revered that temples have also been erected in their honor. There is a particularly famous one in Mysore, at a place called Subramania (Shesh naga). The Naga culture was fairly widespread in India before the Aryan invasion, and continues to be an important segment of worship in certain areas. After the invasion, the Indo-Aryans incorporated the worship of snakes into Hinduism. The thousand-headed Ananta is Vishnu's couch and also holds up the earth, while snakes play an ornamental role in the case of Shiva. Naga panchami is another form of honoring the snakes.
A snake temple,
   
On this day a fast is observed  from morning to evening. Before the fast is broken,the  deity is given a bath  with milk and water.A person who prays to the serpents and observes  a fast, is freed  of  any harm  by the serpents.   Many people also believe that when they are on fast, they must  not  till their fields, lest they hurt the serpents living below the earth.
  
I have been protected by  snakes on a few occasions. I  remember I was about eight years old. Once we went for a picnic.  There were two more families.  In the evening, while waiting for the drivers to bring the cars, all the seniors were engaged in some  discussions. Suddenly I felt something slimy under my shoes, as if I was standing upon soft rubber. I bent down and tried to examine the object. By chance, my mom saw me watching intently  at something.  She immediately pulled me aside and became hysterical,a snake, a snake,she was shrieking. The snake was in a coiled position. It just moved, became straight and slowly moved towards the opposite direction. 
     
There was another occasion   when I had a similar encounter with a snake. I was a grown up girl of twenty years old.  We were in Dehra Dun. We were all sitting in the lobby, engrossed  in some silly conversation. Our pet dog, Tinky was  there too, but tied with his leash.  My brother noticed that Tinky was staring, with his head bent down under my chair. He called Tinky ,but Tinky did not even raise his head. My brother bent his head down and raised an alarm.There was a snake under my chair, with its hood  erect!                                                                                                          


Words 350
Pics courtesy  Google

31 comments:

  1. Thanks to Naga devta he saved you :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have had close encounters with the snakes. I was bitten by a snake when I was 6 years old. Thankfully all was well after a few days in the hospital but I still have a bite mark between my right toe fingers! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shilpa do you remember the incidence?

      Delete
  3. Woah ... now that was some experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Amrit. The first one I don't remember vivdly but heard it numberless times at home. The second one was too scary.

      Delete
  4. once my uncle was bitten n by god's grace he survived! bt his leg is swollen from ever since! i was a kid when this happened n from then till now, am afraid of snakes! even when we go to naga temple, i will be trembling with fear more than praying!

    http://swathishenoy.blogspot.in/2014/04/n-for-nostalgia.html?m=1
    a-z participant

    ReplyDelete
  5. Omg.. You had some close shaves. Snakes are such a scare. People don't even stop to think when they see a snake. They just panic.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nowadays I read initiatives on saving snakes as well around this day...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After all the snakes are also a part of God's creation.

      Delete
  7. Your experience is quite scary, Ma'm. Snakes have been part of our traditional prayers ever since time immemorial, right ? My paternal home had a 'paambinkaavu', where serpents were installed as deities and we prayed to them for welfare. Later when we sold the home, we had to do the 'aavaahanam' and take them to another temple for serpents called 'Paambummekkavu' near Thrissur !!
    Lovely , that you shared this here, Ma'm :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Kerala the snakes are worshiped by majority of the population.

      Delete
  8. This is some festival which I wanted to know about... I love this festival but I don't know much about. Glad to know about it!

    ~S(t)ri
    Participant|AtoZ Challenge 2014
    Smile, it makes (y)our day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am happy that the information given by me has satisfied your curiosity.

      Delete
  9. I love how you tell about these festivals..reminds me of my grandmother...

    N for Nauseated-Random Thoughts Naba

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to know that you like my story telling method. After all, I presume I must be your grand maa's contemporary or even older.

      Delete
  10. oh god! that must have been so scary!!! i would have fainted!

    ReplyDelete
  11. How awful scary! Glad you were ok. I would have freaked out! ♥

    ReplyDelete
  12. You have had real close encounters Ushaji. The take away from most of our festivities is that we worship almost everything . Hopefully the reason behind respect and regard for nature is understood by all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Reshma. I was too small at that time.

      Delete
  13. Your encounters with snakes sounds scary, ma'am. My konkani friends use to sport wild flowers along with grass on their hair for "nag panchami". It was called chudi.

    ReplyDelete
  14. And i have been to the place you have referred ,it is called "kukke subramanya" and is in south karnataka. The main deity here is a snake pit and the pit mud is offered as prasad here.

    another place 40 kms from bangalore is called " ghati subramanya".

    ReplyDelete
  15. we had snaked awarming in my home every other day... they were rat eating snakes and people used to say that a tresure must be buried under our house :P we haven't celebrated nag panchami... but I have seen this in TV and movies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know very few people who celebrate this festival.

      Delete
  16. celebrate south india famous festival nag panchmi and understand its significance and story behind it with

    http://latestfestival.com/august-festival/naag-panchmi/date-naag-panchmi-celebration-story-and-mantra/

    ReplyDelete