Nag Panchami | A day to celebrate ‘serpent' deity

Nag Panchami, a traditional way to faithfully worship the serpent deity in Dogra households. The day is celebrated on every Panchami i.e., fifth day of Shukla Paksha in the Shravan month as per the Hindu calendar. Jammuities celebrate this day with great conviction and enthusiasm by visiting the Nag Barmis and offering milk to the snakes.

Serpents have great importance in Hindu mythology and it is believed that feeding the snakes on Nag Panchami will usher good things in one's life. Apart from that "Nag" is also considered as Lord Shiva's ornament hence making it even more relevant.

The festival is solely dedicated to snakes and worshipping the Naga race. Thus, by feeding the snakes on this particular day, it is believed that the deity will protect them from the venomous bites thus helps to ward off negative energies.

In Jammu particularly, women wake up early on Nag Panchami, take bath, clean their houses especially kitchen and pooja room and prepare traditional food items like halwa puri, babroo kyoor, rutt, kheer, meri( dogri dish made with rice) etc. Moreover, it is a tradition in Dogra households to paint Nag devtas on the kitchen walls and pooja rooms with a paste of rice. The background of the small painting area meant to draw Nags is coated with the charcoal paste.

After this whole procedure, the food items prepared in the kitchen were then offered to Nag Devtas and then the ladies head towards "Nag temples" where they offer "Kachhi lassi" to the devtas and then worship Lord Shiva seeking his blessings.

As soon as women return home, "Kanjak Pooja" is performed. It is custom in which the feet of nine young girls, known as 'kanjak', considered to be representations of the nine different avatars (forms) of Maa Shakti are washed as a mark of respect to the goddesses and then clothes and sweets are given to them by the devotee to celebrate the occasion which marks as the culmination of customs as per the Dogras.

 

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Author

Hardeep Bali