The notorious legless beasts of nature have not been perceived well by many humans. Snakes are considered creepy, scary, and spooky. However, in the world’s oldest culture, Hinduism, Snakes hold an auspicious place. Such is the beauty of Sanatan Dharma – everything that moves or grows is cared for, respected, and worshipped. Today, let’s explore the story and significance of Nagula Chavithi, the day when snakes are worshipped.
Nagula Chavithi is a beautifully mystical Hindu festival to worship Nag Devatas or Serpent Gods and is observed on the fourth day after Deepavali Amavasya in the month of Karthik. The nine Nag Devtas are Ananta, Vasuki, Shesha, Padmanabha, Kambala, Shankhapala, Dhritarashtra, Takshaka, and Kaliya. They’re all vividly worshipped on this day. It’s a day when people worship the snakes in this world, on the ground, in the lakes, ponds, etc. It is celebrated by people from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, and parts of Tamil Nadu.
Nagula Chaivithi Story – Origin
A story for Nagula Chavithi narrates that a large snake was used as a rope during the agitation of the ocean by gods and demons while searching for nectar. In the process, Halahal Vish (poison) had appeared. The poison would have transformed the world, but Bhagwan Shiva swallowed it and held it in the throat. His throat then turned blue. Therefore, Bhagwan Shiva is known as “Neelakantha.” However, a few drops spilled on the ground. To circumvent the harmful effects of vish (poison), people began to worship serpents to soothe off progeny and shield themselves from harmful effects.
Nature survives and thrives only when there’s balance. Rats are rodents that serve a purpose in the ecosystem. They are scavengers and opportunistic eaters. They will eat garbage and other things that people throw away. However, if there are too many rats, they become carriers of some of the deadliest diseases ever known to nature. To avoid that, nature has allotted snakes to keep a check on the population of rats. Hindus recognized it, so this festival acts like a snake’s thanksgiving by farmers to free their farms of rodent menace. Nagula Chavithi is all about showing gratitude towards the snakes.
The rituals and puja procedures are different from place to place. Some people place the Naga devata idol at home and perform puja. But in some areas, devotees go to ‘Putta’ (Snakepit) and offer naivedyam and perform other pujas.
People perform puja to puttas or ant hills (homes for snakes) with kumkum, milk, turmeric, jaggery and black sesame seeds.
People also light diyas near the anthill and offer flowers to it. This ritual is done facing east and usually during the auspicious time of the day.
After finishing the offerings, people take a little bit of soil from the anthill and put it on the back of their ears. People believe that celebrating naagula chavithi removes all tensions in their household and family life.