SravaNa festivals

S. V. Subrahmanian svs_shankara at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 1 14:34:32 CDT 2000

Smt. Lataji wrote:

Naaga Panchami - Shraavana shukla panchami .
This is a day of worshipping the Snake-God called Naagaraaja or the cobra,
the king of snakes. Since it is rainy
season and in ancient days there was the menace of snake bites during this
season, people must have started
worshipping the snake god inorder to propitiate him and avoid snake bites.
The story behind this festival is that once a
sister requests her brother to get her some kedigE flowers ( an yellow
coloured scented flower whose petals are
palm leaves, said to be a favorite of snake god ) to worship the diety. The
brother who goes inside a forest to fetch the
flower is bitten by a snake and dies. The sister offers prayer to the snake
god and gets her brother back to life. Hence
on this day the brothers visit their married sisters , accept the sweets
prepared by them and the sisters apply milk and
ghee to the back and the navel ( signifying the umbilical cord which the
siblings share while in mother's womb) and
pray god for a long life to their brothers. Little girls and their brothers
together worship the snake god at home and
apply milk and ghee to each other.

Telugu Brahmins observe this slightly differently.  They have nAga chaturthi
and garuda panchami with the same significance as above.

S. V. Subrahmanian.

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