Nag Panchami is celebrated on Panchami of Shukla Paksh in Sharavan Masa. This year, the festival will be celebrated on 24th July, Tuesday in Hast nakshatra. This festival is celebrated with faith and fervor. On this day, worshiping Lord Shiva, the holder of serpent, is considered auspicious. Nag Panchmi is also known as Nag Pooja as 'Nag Dev' (Snake god) is worshiped on this day.
The Naga Panchami, which falls on the fifth day of the moonlit-fortnight in the month of Shravan according to the Hindu calendar, is celebrated in order to commemorate the existence of the Nagas.
It is said that the prominent Nagas in the Puranas that are to be worshipped are Anant, Vasuki, Shesh, Padma, Kanwal, Karkotak, Kalia, Aswatar, Takshak, Sankhpal, Dhritarashtra and Pingal. Though, some historians claim that these were not snakes but Naga Kings of various kingdoms which were worshipped as Gods.
On the day of Nag Panchami, devotees and visit snake temples and snake pits and offer prayers to the snakes. Shiva temples are also crowded during this festival. In many places live cobras or their pictures or idols are worshiped and religious rites are performed to please them by offering them milk, turmeric, saffron, rice etc.
There is a popular belief that unmarried women who undertake Nag Panchami Vrat and Puja and feed the snakes will get good husbands apart from protection from snake bites. Many devotees fast from sunrise to sunset and after sunset eat food without salt or frying. In many parts of South India, Women decorate the doorsteps with Snake Kolams on this day. Paintings of Naag are also drawn on either side of the entrance of the home and worshiped.
Naga Panchami is a popular Hindu festival celebrated in India. It is celebrated in most of the parts of the country. However the celebrations are at its best in Bengal, Maharashtra and Southern part of the country.