In this land of varying cultures and traditions, festival form an integral part of the lives of the people here. For the same reason India is often termed as the “Land of Festivals”. There are festivals celebrated here for every occasion. Every season and every state has their own festivals that are celebrated at different times throughout the year. People are seen to take part in the celebrations and rejoicings, irrespective of the caste, creed, age and status. India is a secular country and hence the festivals of various religions are celebrated with the same zeal and enthusiasm throughout the country. During various festivals travelers from all over the country and the world are found to visit and take part in the festivals actively. The different festivals and rituals not only depict the rich cultural heritage of the country but they also symbolize the integrity and unity of the whole nation.
Nag Panchami is mainly a Hindu festival celebrated on the day of Panchami in the month of shravan according to the Hindu Lunar calendar. The festival is performed in order to pay homage to the Cobra or the “Naga Devata”. Naga in sanskrit means snake and cobra is worshipped in India as God. People are found to visit temples and places of worship and snake pits on the day of the festival and pay their offerings to the Snake God and pray him to protect them from the evils. Silver jewellery and milk are offered to him during the rituals of the festival. According to the rituals, five nagas are worshipped on the day of Nag Panchami; namely “Vasuki”, “Ananta”, “Taxak”, “Pingala” and “karkotaka”. According to a historical myth Kadroo, the third wife of Kashyapa (Brahmas son) gave birth to the Nagas. For the reason, the Nagas are also known as Kadrooja.
The festival is also celebrated in Nepal as the “Festival of the Snakes”, but owes its origin to a different myth. It was the ancient Nepalese civilization who worshipped the serpent kings or the Nagas and tradition has been carried on. According to another legend, there was a tantric king who identified the enormous powers of the snakes and celebrated the festival of Naag Panchami in their honor.
The festivals are marked by celebration throughout the day in different parts of the country where they are celebrated. Fairs and swings are put up in some of the villages. Married girls are seen to visit their parents on this day to earn their blessings. To conclude, the festival of Naag Panchami can be declared to be one of those numerous small festivals that binds the people of the nation by the chain of Integrity and equality.