Nag Panchami falls on the fifth day of the moon’s waning in the Lunar Hindu month of Shravan. The festival involves worshipping the serpent god to get rid of bad karma. People worship snake and offer milk on this day. It is believed that offering puja to snakes would reach to the serpent gods. Hence, snakes are worshipped as representatives of gods. People observe fast a day before Nag Panchami which is called as Nag Chaturthi or Nagul Chavithi.
In India, Nag Panchami is celebrated with much fervour in Nagaraja Temple in Kerala, Hardevja Temple in Jaipur and Nagathamman Temple in Chennai. The state of Gujarat celebrates the festival 15 days after other states.
There are several myths and stories surrounding the origin of the festival. According to one of the myth, the day is celebrated as the victory of Lord Krishna over the black serpent Kaliya, killed in the river Yamuna. It is also believed that Lord Brahma created Sheshnag, King of Snakes, on this day. The day is also referred as Garuda Panchami. Garuda is the carrier of Lord Vishnu and is also considered as the enemy of serpents.
Shravan i.e. monsoon is the best time for cultivation. As fields are the dwelling ground for snakes, Nag Panchami is celebrated to calm them, so that they don’t bite them during cultivation. The day also helps to make the bond between human and nature strong. Farmers celebrate the day by not digging the fields and by worshiping snake idols made of mud.
12 serpent gods
Though there are several serpent gods, the following twelve are worshipped during Nag Panchami Puja:
Panchami tithi begins: July 27, 2017 at 7:01
Panchami tithi ends: July 28, 2017 at 6:38
Nag Panchami puja muhurat: 7:01 to 8:52