India with its vivid traditions is full of festivals. Naga Panchami is the festival when snakes are worshiped. It is celebrated on the fifth day of full moon in the month of Shravan (July/August according to Gregorian calendar).
Snakes are of high importance in Hindu mythology. Legend has it that in Mahabharata, Janamejaya, a king of Kuru dynasty stopped his ‘Sarpa Satra’ which was essentially a killing spree of all snakes on earth on this day.
Another tale refers to Lord Krishna beating the evil snake Kaliya. Yet some believe it is celebrated to honor the snakes who were impressed by the devotion of a little girl and revived her family after killing them.
As snakes are widely found on farmlands, so it is forbidden to plow a field on Naga Panchami as it might hurt them. People bathe a snake deity in milk, which is believed to forgive their sins.
Many also put milk next to snake holes to please the nagas. In these ways, people celebrate the Naga Panchami.