Naag Panchami festival of Nepal 5th August 2019
What is Naag Panchami?
It is the day of serpents. Naags are revered on this day in Nepal. Naag means snake, and Panchami is the fifth day after the new moon which where the name for this festival derives from. The new moon day is known as Aunshi locally.
What is Naag?
Naags are divine snakes with mysterious powers. These snakes have an unprecedented part in Hindu convictions. The Mahabharata epic mentions that Lord Krishna defeated Naag Kalia and put an end to his evil deeds on this very day - Shrawan Panchami. This is the reason for this festival to be celebrated by the Hindus.
Legend has it that Kathmandu valley was a vast lake. Naags were angered when humans drained it to live there. The people dedicated certain areas to worship the Naags to appease their anger and for self-protection. They also made a promise to dedicate this day to worship them to live in harmony; this is still practiced to date.
There were eight Naags with exceptional capabilities and are widely worshipped. The mantra for Naag Panchami is printed on the bottom of the posters that are posted on the door of Hindu households.
How is this festival celebrated in Nepal?
The Hindus of Nepal stick pictures of Naags on the top middle part of the doors on this day to keep evil spirits out. They worship the Naag by offering the starchy water from washing rice; this water represents milk. Some people even provide milk at the snake holes on this day. People make an effigy of a snake with a cotton string that is plastered with cow dung and rice flour plaster and offer it cow milk, barley, sesame seeds, mixed nuts, and other sacred objects. It is strongly believed that Naags provides believers with good health prosperity and blessings for the year when Naag Panchami is observed well annually. The Nepalese Hindus believe that if the Naags are infuriated, they can make them gravely ill.
The Puran (a genre of ancient Indian literature) states that Shesh Naag hoists the earth on its head. Lord Vishnu sleeps on its coil inside the ocean. The most powerful Naags are Kali, Bashuki, Astha, Padma, and Karkot.
Ancient scriptures reveal that there would be no rain without the assistance of Naags. This is one more reason for the Nepalese Hindus to offer benedictions while offering food items such as milk and honey in the fields with the hope of sufficient rain.
Several men donning demonic masks dance on the streets as a part of the Naag Panchami ceremony.
The Nepalese Hindus have their myths and legends encompassing Naags, which leads them to observe Naag Panchami on a grand scale.
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