Nag Panchami is celebrated on the Shukla Paksha Panchami during Shravan month. The day 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 in 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.
On Nag Panchami, milk, sweets, and flowers are offered to snakes. Images or statues of serpent gods are bathed in milk and then worshipped reciting the following Mantras.
12 serpent gods
Though there are several serpent gods, the following twelve are worshipped during Nag Panchami Puja:
Panchami tithi begins: August 15, 2018 at 3:27 am
Panchami tithi ends: August 16, 2018 at 1:51 am