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Nagula Chavithi - Know Importance & Rituals

This festival is celebrated on the Chaturthi Tithi that comes after Amavasya (New Moon) during the Hindu month of ‘Kartik’. Nag Panchami and Nag Shashthi are celebrated after Nag Chaturthi. Naga deities (serpent deities) are worshiped on the auspicious occasion of Nagula Chavithi.

This festival is mainly celebrated by married women who offer prayers for the welfare of their children. On this day, women observe ‘Vrat’ (fasting) and offer prayers to the serpent god (Snake worship).

Ashtanga (eight-folded cobra) is worshiped during Nagula Chavithi festival. In order to please the Naga gods, in their ‘Valmik’ or ‘Bambi’ (the serpent’s bill), ‘snake god’ is offered milk, dry fruits and sometimes enjoyment of eggs.

The rituals performed on this day may vary from region to region, but the essence of the festival is the same. Nagula Chavithi festival is celebrated on a large scale in many parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Legend related to Nagula Chavithi

In Hindu Dev groups, many gods are closely associated with snakes, so the worship of snakes is highly relevant in Hindu culture. Lord Shiva is also called ‘Nag Bhushan’ because a snake appears wrapped around his throat. Whereas Lord Vishnu is known as ‘Sesha Thalpa Sai’ as the serpent gods serve him as Shayya. Lord Ganesha is also known as ‘Nag Yajnopaveet’ and Lord Kumar Swamy as ‘Nag Swaroop’.

The legends related to Nagula Chavithi are intimately connected with Hindu mythology. It is described in them that a serpent was used as a rope during the churning of the vast ocean (sea churning) by gods and demons in search of nectar.

In this process, the first ‘Halahal’ poison came out which could have a tremendous negative impact on the world, but Lord Shiva drank this poison, which resulted in his throat becoming blue. Hence one of his names is ‘Neelkanth’. However, a few drops of that poison were scattered on the earth and since then people started worshiping snakes to protect themselves from the evil effects of this poison.

Importance of Nagula Chavithi

The worship of snakes is an integral part of Hindu culture and has immense religious significance. In rural areas, especially in the farming community, snakes are considered helpful in many aspects. During the winter, snakes break out of their burrows and eat the mice that destroy the crops. Snakes also kill harmful micro-organisms present in fresh water.

The Nagula Chavithi festival is thus celebrated to express gratitude to those snakes that play an important role in making the soil fertile for crops. Even in astrology, the snake holds a high position because ‘Rahu’ represents the planet snake. By worshiping the snake deities, the ill effects of the planet ‘Rahu’ can be eliminated.

The tradition of worshiping snakes reflects man’s desire to live in harmony with nature. Therefore, the sanctity of forests should be maintained for the protection of habitats of snakes and other animals.

Rituals performed on Nagula Chavithi

In keeping with the tradition of most Hindu rituals, it is considered very necessary to wake up in the morning and take a bath. On the Shubhavasar of Nagula Chavithi festival, devotees offer prayers by installing the idol of the serpent god in the altar of prayer. Many people visit the serpent-billed sites to offer ‘offerings’ to the serpent deities.

A dish made of sesame laddus, lentils and sweet dish made of rice flour and jaggery are made to offer to the serpent god. On this day, worship is done with flowers, cow’s milk, turmeric, kumkum, banana, tambool and rice flour.

Circumcision of the serpent’s bill after worship is also a part of the rituals, which leads to the blessing of the serpent god. On the auspicious occasion of Nagula Chavithi festival, prayers and rituals are organized in all the ‘Nag’ temples in which people from near and far places come to worship the snake deity.

 

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