Naag Panchami, is a key Hindu festival dedicated to Serpent gods. Various stories and folklores are associated with the day and the day itself is celebrated on separate dates according to the local culture. While the nation celebrated Naag Panchami in August, 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. The festival is celebrated in the month of Shravan.
This festival is celebrated with religious gusto across the Dogra community of the Jammu region.
In some households, clay snakes are brought home to be worshipped, while in others they have 5 pairs of serpents drawn in pooja rooms or kitchens.
Every year, on this auspicious day this place is cleaned with a big green leaf and blackened with the coal. On the black background, images are drawn with ink made of soaked and ground rice.and then fresh drawing of 5 pairs of serpent as are redrawn on the area. The illustrations are made using a wooden pen with cotton wound on its tip.
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.
The images drawn are of serpents (ranging from 5 to 5 pairs). Along with the serpents, are drawn images of a centipede, a scorpion and sometimes God Garud also.
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On this day, on both sides of door two idols of serpents are made of cow dung. In this vow, people fast on the panchami day and eat food in the evening.
On this eve Dogra cuisine Kheer, Mairee, kyoour, Meethe Babru, Gheor made of flour and Draupad are common delicacies cooked on this day in all Dogra homes.
People also visit Naag temples where prayers and milk are offered to the gods.
During this season, Nag comes out of their holes and burrows.Nag are dear to Lord Shiva,Nag are worshipped to please Lord Shiva. For them not to harm humans when they come out due to the rains, they are worshipped on Nag Panchami.
It is believed that worshiping a Nag devta on Nag Panchami helps remove poverty. It is also believed to give the desired husband to unmarried girls and women are blessed with a baby boy. Worshipping snakes on Nag Panchami pleases the lord of Nag Devta. He protects his devotees from snake bites and fulfils their wishes.
The ways of celebrating the occasion may differ among different families and clans but the objective remains the same. It is a day to thank gods for giving us a prosperous family life.