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Nag Panchami: Why do we celebrate it?

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Every year in July, Nepalese celebrate Nag Panchami. If you are from Nepal then you have probably experienced it at least once. During Nag Panchami, we worship Snake Gods or Diety Snakes called Nagas. From the ancient time, it is believed that Nagas control the rain. So, we worship the Snake Gods and show our gratitude for the irrigation. 

Nagas mean Diety Snakes and Panchami is the 5th day among the fifteen days of the moon’s waxing (also called no-moon day). Since we worship the Nagas during the 5th day (also called Aushi) after the no-moon day, it is called Nag Panchami. 

nag panchami
Image: Naga Statue

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna conquered over the evil Kalia Nag which was sent to kill him. When Kalia failed to win over Krishna, he apologized and promised not to hurt the people of the village. As a gesture of respect and the victory over evil, people started celebrating Nag Panchami. 

This is still celebrated with immense value in Nepalese societies. Different Naga temples around the valley including Nagpokhari, Taudaha, and Nagdaha are crowded with devotees on the day of Nag Panchami. 

The significance of Nag Panchami Mantra 

Nag Panchami

अनन्तं वासुकिं शेषं पद्मनाभं च कम्बलम्।

 शंखपालं धार्तराष्ट्रं तक्षकं कालियं तथा ।।

एतानि नवनामानी नगनां च महत्मनाम् ।

सायंकाले पठेन्नित्यं प्रात:काले विशेषत:।।

तस्मै विषभयं नास्ति सर्वत्र विजयी भवत् ।। 

On the occasion of Naga Panchami, pictures of snakes are painted along with the Nap Panchami Mantra (spells). It is believed that doing so will keep away the poisonous snakes. 

The ritual: How is Nag-Panchami Celebrated? 

In Nepal, people paste pictures of Nagas above the main entrance/doors along with some spells written below. The picture is worshipped and offered some milk. Some even leave milk besides the snake holes for the snakes. 

The worshipping ingredients include cow’s milk, barley, lava, and coins. A garland of flowers is made and put on the entrance of the house. According to Hindu devotees, worshiping at Nag Panchami will keep away any poisonous harm to the body. 

Nagas have significant importance in Hindu culture as it is also believed that snakes have more powers than humans. Some pray for the rain, while others pray for good health. Either way, the ritual is followed by almost every Nepalese to this day. 

Related: Five basic things you must know before you visit Nepal

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