WOR­SHIP­PING SNAKES

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The tra­di­tional wor­ship of snakes or ser­pents is ob­served by Hin­dus through­out In­dia. Nag Pan­chami is a sa­cred In­dian fes­ti­val ded­i­cated to the snake God. This year Nag Pan­chami is cel­e­brated on Thurs­day, 27 July, the fifth day of bright half of Lu­nar month of Shra­van, ac­cord­ing to the Hindu cal­en­dar.

Snake wor­ship is in­fact an an­cient prac­tice of the In­dian peo­ple. The cus­tom of snake wor­ship is be­lieved to have come from the 'Naga' tribe who lived in an­cient In­dia. The Indo-Aryans be­gan fol­low­ing this prac­tice and started wor­ship­ing many of the snake deities of the Na­gas. Carved fig­ures of snakes can be found on the walls of many Hindu tem­ples.

Nag Pan­chami which is ob­served in the month of Shra­van, is the ad­vent of the rainy sea­son in many parts of In­dia. Dur­ing this pe­riod, snakes leave their holes in the flooded fields and forests and en­ter the habi­ta­tions of hu­mans. Hin­dus do not kill the snakes be­cause they be­lieve that snakes are their Gods. Hence, in-or­der to pro­pi­ti­ate the snake God­dess Manasa, snake wor­ship is of­fered on Nag Pan­chami.

The rit­u­als ob­served on Nag Pan­chami in­clude go­ing around the snake pits in tem­ples to wor­ship the Na­gas, of­fer­ing milk in 'Ant Hills' and 'Snake Pits' and per­form­ing the Naga Puja in the tem­ples to get re­lief from Naga Dosha.

By wor­ship­ing the snake Gods on Nag Pan­chami, the snake God­dess Manasa pro­tects us from all evils and re­moves our fear of snakes and ser­pents.

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