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Significance of Nag Panchmi

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Nag Panchmi is a Hindu festival on which snakes are worshipped. Hinduism is a religion of faith and is surrounded by common search of truth. For Hindus all this means a way of life and worshipping forces of nature has been a part of Hinduism from ancient times. Nag Panchmi is celebrated throughout India and falls on the fifth day of the moonlit fortnight of the month of Sravana, which falls in the month of July or August.

◾Traditional Belief (what people think):

It is believed that Lord Krishna had saved the lives of people from the harassment of Kaliya, the snake. It is believed that one day, when Krishna was quite young, was playing by the side of river Yamuna and his ball got stuck in the branches of a tree that was just by the side of the river. While trying to get that ball, Krishna fell into the river. When Kaliya, the snake attacked him, he fought and after some time the snake understood that he was not an ordinary child. This was when he pleaded Krishna not to kill him and Krishna spared him by taking a promise that he will not harass the people anymore. Nag Panchmi is celebrated as the victory of Krishna on Kaliya, the most dangerous snake.

There is another story attached to this:

People believe that Lord Shiva, a Hindu God, loves and blesses snakes and so by worshipping the snakes they also try to please him. Lord Shiva is believed to be one of the most short-tempered Gods and can even ruin your life if he gets angry.

◾Scientific (Ancient) Belief:

But the amazing fact is that Snakes are reptiles not mammals. And Reptiles don't drink milk but Mammals do.So, the fact is Snakes don't drink milk. Even if they do, they are not able to digest it and they eventually die.

Now one question might come to your mind that if Snakes don't drink milk then how can they drink milk on Naag Panchmi?

The scientific knowledge that snakes do not drink milk though it is reported that "In a crises, when severely dehydrated, a snake might drink any liquid available” including milk. The snake charmers leave their snakes hungry for more than a month before the NaagPanchami so that they are forced to drink the milk offered by the devotees.

Now another question arises here is  if they can't drink milk then why they are offered to drink Milk?

NaagPanchami is observed in the month of Shravana (July/August), the advent of the rainy season in many parts of India. It is the time when snakes leave their holes in the flooded fields and jungles and enter the habitations of men - thereby throwing them into great consternation. It is during this period that the greatest number of deaths from snake-bite occur in places like Lower Bengal. It is also the beginning of the harvest season, when crops attain their full growth and the harvest is ready to be reaped. In countries like India the reaping of the harvest is (still largely) a manual operation and farmers have to work in the fields all by themselves, thus exposing themselves to the bites of poisonous snakes lurking unseen among the dense crop. At that time, the snake charmers are not there to bring snakes to devotees but where-ever they saw them during this period, they offered them milk (not forced them) and if they are highly dehydrated then they drink it and die eventually without bringing any harm to any person.  It is a way to protect ourself from snake.

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