Festival Special – Nag Panchami

                                  Nag Panchami is the first festival which falls in the auspicious shravan month in Hindu calendar ie is – panchami day of the shuklapaksha of shravanamasa .It is celebrated all over India worshipping Nag Devtas! From the bygone days – when all members of a family lived together in one house with large vacant spaces – they had a Sarpa Khatte of their own – where they used to pray and light a lamp in the evenings !

                    It is believed that Lord Parashuram had asked for  land belonging  to the Nagas  for the Saraswats to  reside   during a famine.So the entire south Canara is also called by the name Parashurama Khsetra and so the Nag Devtas are worshipped a lot in this area. Since Lord Vishnu lies on the thousand headed Shesh Naag  and Lord Shiva has the snake as an ornament – Nag devatas are worshipped by all and have a place in most temples ! Praying to them is believed to protect one from snake bites & Naga Doshas !
pic courtesy Vijayalakshmi Prabhu
            On Nag Panchami day special prayers are held in all GSB temples . In Cochin Thirumala Devaswom temple special poojas and abhisheks are held ! The Head priest performs the special Panchamrit Abhishek using – the five holy nectars being – milk , curds , honey , sugar & Ghee .Tender coconut is offered by each family  and this is used for the special Shiyalle Abhishek .
pic courtesy Vijayalakshmi Prabhu
After this is the idol is beautifully decorated with flowers and Naivedya of Kuttpaysu & Soppur ghari is offered .
pic courtesy –Vijayalakshmi Prabhu
Those who have the Nagar Khatte at home also perform these special pujas and light lamps in the evening .
                                          Every family in South Canara have their family( kutumbe che) Naga katte which have been worshipped since the time of their ancestors.It is compulsory for at least any one family member to gather at the kutumba Naga Katte every year on this day to perform the ritual.On nag panchami day the men of the house have an early bath with cold water as custom decrees that hot water should not be used …wear clean white munda or veshti ,change the sacred thread if necessary and perform pooja at the family’s naga katte …accompanied by either the family priest or doing it themselves.The main things required for pooja are turmeric and tender coconut.It is called as naga thana ghalche in Konkani.
                               It is believed that worshipping Nag Devta on this day wards off all evils on the family (if any)  andthe Nag Devtas are worshipped like Brahman swarupa….some families perform abhishek with panchamrut and with tender coconut( panchamruta abhishek and shiyale abhishek) as per the family custom…some offer just milk along with haldi ,Ketaki flowers and bhingaru ( areca nut flower)which is said to be Naga devas favourite. ..these are a must on this day .Even In north Canara too the Naga katte is worshipped by offering milk. Family nag vigrahas are first washed with water from the nearby well or pond. Then turmeric powder is applied and washed,shiyale abhishek is performed, then all the other ingredients are poured and then washed with clean water, panchamruth is offered , and then the idol is decorated with fragrant flowers and worshipped with arati. The main reason for this ritual is to conserve the medicinal plants. Where ever there are naga banas, one can find all sorts of medicinal trees and plants. In other words, this is like conservation of forest through rituals.A wise way to conserve forest and perform rituals by our wise ancestors.
pic courtesy – Padmini Kamath
                   Women in the house prepare special delicacies on this day using turmeric leaves( haldi paan)..only steamed dishes are prepared on this day and the menu at every house is almost same with pathrado, kheeri, patholi and curry where the seasoning is avoided or prepared the previous day. Custom demands that we avoid digging of land,deep frying..roasting of chillies and tempering on this day (as it gives a “hissss” sound )- to please the Nag Devtas and seek their blessings. Most foods prepared on this day are steamed and include – khotto ,pattholi,pathrado. chana ghashi,bhendi ,sagle ,alvati,,cheppi kheeri,phova kheeri basically  in the jevan /meal. As also  Rulava khotto (Rava khotto ),  dalitoya without chillies tempering ,  upkari with  green chillies , Surnu ani bhajji dento ghalnu sukke ( Sukke with Elephant yam &  stem of Green leaves).You can find all the recipes for these in our blog !
        Another practice is that in North Karnataka they tie jhoola or hindolu /swings in houses and small girls are made to swing on them .

Here are  two typical Nag Panchami jevans –

pic courtesy – Sandhya Puranik
pic courtesy –Asha Radhakrishna Shenoy
This blog post has been compiled with valuable inputs from my KKAJ group members – Vijayalakshmi Prabhu ,Sandhya Puranik ,Sabitha Shenoy ,,Poornima Nayak ,Padmini Kamath,,Veena Nayak, & Asha Radhakrishna Shenoy . Thanking you all for making this post possible ! Hope this post helps all in knowing more about our festivals and preserving them for the younger generation !

11 replies to “Festival Special – Nag Panchami

  1. This is such useful information. I know for sure I can depend on getting my amchi celebration. Love this blog. Ushakka and Sandhya, you guys are absolute torch bearers of amchi traditional foods.

    Like

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