Monday, 5 August 2019
Celebrated in the Shravan month according to the Hindu calendar, usually in July or August, this year the festival would be celebrated on the 5th of August.
As per popular belief, Patala Loka, which is the seven realms of the universe below the earth, has the Naga-Loka, which is also the abode of the snakes. As the creative force of the universe the snakes, which reside in this loka are prayed to and their blessing are sought for the wellbeing of the near and dear ones.
As a part of the celebrations, a serpent deity, which is made of silver, stone or wood, is given a milk bath and then prayed to. Blessings are sought from the deity for the welfare and wellbeing of the family with people observing fasts and also feeding Brahmins on this day. Special mantras are also chanted to cleanse the atmosphere and bring auspiciousness to the environment.
There are special fairs, which are organized at many places, while at some places real snakes are worshipped and prayed to. Also, it is considered a taboo to kill or harm any snakes on this day.
There is a special tradition in many households of offering lotus flower placed in a silver bowl, with a Rangoli of a snake in front of the bowl. The snake is created with a special brush, which is made of wood, clay, silver or gold with turmeric or sandalwood paste used as a paint. In the villages, anthills, where snakes are supposed to reside, are searched for and incense, milk and flowers are offered as a part of the prayers.
Nag Panchmani is a unique festival and is celebrated with much earnestness and enthusiasm all over the country.