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IND Press: Day the cobra is worshipped

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Tue Aug 17 09:44:16 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

TIMES OF INDIA (New Delhi) 14 August 10 The day the cobra is worshipped
It's the one day in the year when cobras, feared and often harmed, are worshipped. The fifth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Shravan is observed by Hindus as Nagpanchami.
Among the lore behind the festival, one holds that a farmer destroyed a snake's nest while tilling the soil. Seeking revenge, the angered female cobra spared the farmer's life after he worshipped a drawing of the snake in his home.
In Goa, city-based Hindus offer milk, fruits, flowers and incence to a clay idol of the cobra at home. In villages, the same offering is made at the anthill closest to home. After reciting folk songs at the anthill, the married Hindu woman performs a special puja before snake's clay idol at home.
The cobra is considered by Hindus to be the bearer of ancestors' souls. Folk tradition also holds that snakes protect the locality they are found in. "The devout avoid digging the soil, cutting vegetables and frying on the day," says Vascoresident Pushpa Kulkarni.
"We therefore specially prepare the sweet patolleo (a pancake of wheat or rice flour stuffed with lentils and jaggery and steamed wrapped in turmeric leaves)."
In Hinduism, the cobra is found prominently with the gods. While it lies coiled around Lord Ganesha's waist, it wraps around Lord Shiva's neck. Lord Vishnu is portrayed as sitting or reclining on a cobra's coiled body.
Among other religions, Buddhists respect the cobra as the snakes Nanda and Upananda performed the ritual bath of baby Buddha, while the Jain Tirthankar Parshavanath is shown iconographically with a seven-hooded cobra over the head.
Interestingly, some Hindu families in Palye-Pernem, Virdi-Bicholim and Kothambi-Quepem do not celebrate the festival of Nagpanchami. Seema Xet Desai of Kothambi says, "Instead of worshipping the idol of a cobra, we visit the temple of Chandreshwar." In Palye, the village deity is offered haushe ó boiled horse gram and cucumber pieces served on Kudoleaves. Devotees in Goa also visit the temples of Nagesh in Bandivade-Ponda and Nagnath in Naikini-Sanguem. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Sindhudurg, live snakes are worshipped on Nagpanchami.
Shekhar Manjrekar, a resident of Shiroda-Vengurla says snake fairs are held where sakes are worshipped. Farmer Chandrakant Pednekar from Madhalamaj-Mandrem says farmers worship the cobra as it plays a vital role in crop protectionóit preys on rodents.
The day the cobra is worshipped


   

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