World Festivals
2:21 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

World Celebrations: Snakes!

Each week on World Music (Saturday nights from 8-10 on KSTX 89.1 FM), I take a look at celebrations happening around the world. This week, Indiana Jones might want to stay away from India. 

NAG PANCHAMI FESTIVAL

How do you feel about snakes? They’re certainly not top of the list of favorite reptiles, except at the Nag Panchami Festival in India. Revered by Hindu worshippers, snakes at the festival are treated with love and care, even being treated to milk baths. (Cleopatra and Elizabeth the First both indulged in regular milk baths, as a skin refining treatment, but I’m not sure how beneficial milk is to the scaly ones).

Snakes in Jainism and Buddhism are regarded as sacred, with divine qualities, and the snake festival provides worshippers an opportunity to express their devotion. In the morning, women rise early, go to an ant hill where the snakes live, offer milk and honey, and pray for the well-being of their families. Sisters invite their brothers to participate by dipping flowers in the milk not consumed by the snakes, and applying it on the brothers’ backs. Still feeling a little squeamish about snakes? Remember that Lord Shiva wears one draped around his neck!    

Hear more about this and other celebrations happening around the world on World Music with Deirdre Saravia, Saturday nights at 8:00 on KSTX 89.1 FM.

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