Naag Panchami is considered to be one of the most sacred days celebrated in India. It’s a fast which is established on the fifth day of the bright half of the Shravan. Naag Panchami means festival of snakes.
Snakes are feared in many parts of the world, but in India snakes enjoy a religious significance. They are honoured, as it’s believed in accordance to Bhavishya Purana, that snakes Vasuki, Manibhadra, Kaliya, Dhananjaya, Talshaka, Airavata, Karakotaka and Dhritarashtra protect the worshippers from the snake’s families, once they are bathed with milk on Naag Panchami. To honour the snakes or “Naag” even more, it’s considered forbidden to plough the fields on that very day.
Naag Panchami has various legends and stories attached to its origin, and one of them dates back to the time when a farmer killed some young snakes by mistake. It’s believed that the serpents’’ mother killed the farmer along with his family in revenge. Although she didn’t kill one of his daughters who was praying to the serpant herself. This prayer proved to be so powerful that farmer and his whole family came back to life. This was the birth of Naag Panchami. Since then, hundreds of people worship snakes every year so they stay protected from their wrath.
This tradition of honouring snakes is not just restricted to keeping a fast. In fact there have been several temples dedicated completely to honour snakes.