India celebrates Nag Panchami today. Women participate in large numbers to celebrate this festival dedicated to the snake gods. The festival is observed on the Shukla Paksha Panchami during Sawan month in the Hindu calendar. The usually falls a couple of days after Hariyali Teej, a festival that was celebrated this year on August 17.
Women worship the Snake god or the Nag Devta and offer milk to the serpents. It symbolises offering of milk to the snake gods. Women pray for the well being of their brothers and family members.
As many as 12 serpent gods are worshipped on this day which is believed to be very auspicious.
Pooja is offered to Ananta, Vasuki, Shesha, Padma, Kambala, Karkotaka, Ashvatara, Dhritarashtra, Shankhapala, Kaliya, Takshaka and Pingala gods.
How to perform Nag Panchami pooja?
Many women observe fasting a day before the festival. Some even fast on the actual day. Offer milk or kheer to the snake god or Lord Shiva.
Avoid consuming food that has salt.
Apply haldi and kumkum on snake holes and offer flowers.
Then chant the Nag Panchami pooja mantra to seek blessings from the snake gods.
Sarva Nagaah preeyantam mey yey kechit prithivithaley
Yey cha helimarichistha yentarey divi samstithah
Yey Nadeeshu Mahanaga ye Sarasvatigaaminah
Yey cha Vaapeetadageshu teshu sarveshu vai namah
Once the pooja is over, distribute the kheer or milk as Prasad to your friends and family.
Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy Nag Panchami.