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Festival - Nag Panchami

Discussion in 'Northern and Central Indian States' started by NitiSaini, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. NitiSaini

    NitiSaini Senior IL'ite

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    Dear friends,
    Most of us live in cities. We are not exposed to snakes and only come across pictures of snakes. Let me tell you about Nag Panchami the festival of snakes. Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Shravan. Like other parts of India especially Maharashtra, W.Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh people in Bihar too celebrate this festival.
    Some people explain this festival by saying that during this period, rain water floods the holes of snakes and they come out of their holes. There is every chance of their entering households and biting people which have been a dangerous reptile and bite people. The Nag Panchami festival is therefore celebrated to appease the snake god. People offer milk during Nag Panchami to the snake god. The most important centre of worship in Bihar is in Rajgir. The place finds mention even in the Mahabharata as the abode of serpents.
    I would like my friends to contribute Nag Panchami celebrations in their states.


     
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  2. raminderkaur

    raminderkaur Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Niti
    You will be glad to know that Nag-Panchami is also celebrated in Punjab. It is known as "Guga-Navami". It is a community festival.One of the aim is of course to protect the farmer out in the field against the wrath of snakes.

    Each household contributes flour and a bit of butter. Next the flour is mixed and kneaded into a dough and a big snake is shaped from this dough.
    This snake is then placed on a winnowing basket and taken around the village. It is a big procession in which women and children sing and dance while onlookers shower flower petals. The procession reaches the village choupal where some religious rites are performed to invoke the blessings of the snake god. At the end of the ceremony the dough snake is ceremoniously buried.

     
  3. sushmasrivastav

    sushmasrivastav Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Niti
    Here are a few lines about the celebrations in Maharashtra.
    On Nag Panchami day, in Maharashtra, women take an early bath, wear their nine yards-sarees, and prepare for the "puja" of Nag-Devata.
    Traditional Snake charmers make a killing on this day. They move from one household to another with their baskets holding various snakes. All the time they play distinctive melodious tunes on their beens. They announce their arrival by declaring "Nagoba-la dudh de Mayi". Women troop out of the houses and sprinkle haldi-kumkum and flowers on the heads of the snakes. Next they offer sweetened milk to the snakes and pray. Gifts for the snake charmers include cash and old clothes. In addition, people also place bowls of milk at known haunts of snakes.
     
  4. HarleenSethi

    HarleenSethi New IL'ite

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    In many parts of Uttar Pradesh, Nag Panchami day is commemorated as the day of the victory of Lord Krishna over the snake Kaliya. Kaliya was a serpent who terrorised the villages of the area. Both men and animals were afraid to drink the waters of the river Yamuna which turned black due to his poison. One day Krishna fell into the river Yamuna. Kaliya pounced on him but Krishna was able to subdue him in no time and started dancing on his head. After this victory, Krishna began to be called as “Kaliya Mardan”.
    On Nag Panchami, devotees pour milk into the holes in the fields or near the temple to propitiate them. Another common practice is to place a small pot of milk with some flowers near the holes to enable the snakes to drink it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  5. nutangill

    nutangill New IL'ite

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    A very informative series on Nag Panchami celebrations from all over the country.
     
  6. sushmasrivastav

    sushmasrivastav Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi Niti,
    Let me tell you about the famous Nag-Panchami celebrations at the village of Baltis Shirale in Maharashtra. About a week before Nag Panchami, people dig out live snakes from their holes. The snakes are kept in earthen pots and are fed a daily diet of rats and milk.
    On the day of Nag panchami, the men folk carry the earthen pots containing snakes on their heads in a procession to the temple of goddess Amba. After rituals, the snakes are taken out from the pots and set free in the temple courtyard. The Pandit then sprinkles haldi-kumkum and flowers on the raised hoods of the snakes. After the puja, the snakes are offered plenty of milk and honey.
    There is more. Does anyone know what happens next!
     
  7. sushmasrivastav

    sushmasrivastav Bronze IL'ite

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    After the puja at the temple of Goddess Amba, the snakes are once again put back in the pots and taken in a procession through the hamlets of Shirala village. Women devotees wait outside their houses for a "darshan" of the sacred cobras.
    A cobra may be taken out of its pot and let loose in front of each house. Men and women then offer prayers, sprinkle puffed rice, flowers, and light incense sticks and perform "aarti” of the snakes. Girls about to get married take part in the puja with enthusiasm in the belief it will bring luck in marriage.
     
  8. JoyshreeGupta

    JoyshreeGupta Senior IL'ite

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    On Nag Panchami day in Bengal, clay images of Manasa are made. Interestingly, the festival occurs in the rainy season when there is an increased risk of snake bites in the fertile rural districts of West Bengal.
    In fact, Manasa Puja is recommended right through August – September to keep the snake goddess happy and reduces chances of snake bite. Among the rituals of Manasa Puja is reciting the Manasa Mangal poems. What add to the excitement of the festival are the boat races during the Immersion ceremony or the Bhasan Yatra.
     
  9. BandanaSen

    BandanaSen Bronze IL'ite

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    Yes, I recall Manasa Puja on Nag panchami days in my childhood in Bengal. The clay images of Ma Mansa show her with four arms sitting upon a lotus. She has a white goose as her mount. The idol is surrounded by eight snakes with four snakes in her hands and the other four in her crown and at her feet.
    Interestingly, Ma Manasa Devi is worshipped on the branch of a cactus plant as it is considered as a snake repellant.

    In fact, many people believe that if one’s parents have died of snake bite, Ma Manasa should be worshipped. This would release the parents from snake bite and they would be able to proceed to heaven.
     
  10. nutangill

    nutangill New IL'ite

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    Thank you ladies for informing us about Nag panchami
     

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