Nag Panchami, the traditional Hindu festival of snakes or serpents is being observed by Hindus throughout India, Nepal and other countries. As per certain reports, the sacred Hindu festival, which holds high significance for Shiv-Bhaktas, and is celebrated on the fifth day of bright half of Lunar month of Shravan (July/August). There are interesting beliefs as to why do we celebrate this festival. As per Hindu beliefs, the abode of snakes is believed to be patal lok, it is the seventh and lowest of all the seven realms below the earth (info source: Wikipedia). The seventh Loka is also known as Naga-Loka, the region of the Nagas, as part of the creation force. The blessing of snakes is sought for the welfare of the family. As per tradition, the serpent deity made of silver, stone or wood or the painting of snakes, are decorated and given a bath with milk. In many places, people observe a fast on this day and even feed Brahmins to make the almighty happy. The pooja observed on this day is considered as sure protection against snake bite – a big menace in hinterlands of India. Many people worship real snakes to observe the festival.
People organise large-scale fairs in many places across the country. In one very important aspect, digging the earth is considered a taboo on this day as it could harm snakes which reside in the earth. As per the Hindu beliefs, snakes are considered more powerful than humans and on account of their association with Shiva, Vishnu, and Subramanya, the gain much more significance.
Snakes are also linked with Snatan Astrology. The serpent believed to be linked to the Moon’s nodes known in Hindu astrology. In an important astrological norm, the head of the snake is represented by Rahu (“Dragon’s head”) and its tail by Ketu (“Dragon’s tail”). The issue of Kalasarpa dosha (Defect due to black snakes) also come up while the astrologers prepare Kundlis of Hindus.