It is found out that this festival is dedicated to the Anant Nag or the Shesh Nag and the belief runs that Anant Nag comforts the protector of the entire existence, Lord Vishnu. Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the the Shraavan month. Devotees visit lord Shiva temple on this day and pray to lord Shiva and Lord Shesh Naag. Getting the Lord Shiva puja done on this day has immense benefits.
On the day of Nag Panchami people from Bengal worship Manasa Devi, who is considered as the Goddess of Snakes. But the people from other regions of India worship Lord Shiva on this day. Women draw the images and figures of snake on the walls of their houses. They offer to these images milk, ghee, water and rice. Moreover, farmers do not go to ploughing their fields on this day. This is done so as to prevent from hurting any of the snakes on this day. And it is believed that as a reward for this the snakes will never bite any member of that family. The rituals of not tilling the land on this day of Nag Panchami owes its origin to a legendary story. It is said that on this day a farmer while ploughing his land accidentally killed some young snakes and the mother snake took the revenge by biting and killing the farmer and his family. But the snake did not kill one of his daughter. It was because she worshipped snakes. This act resulted in the revival of the farmer and the other members of his family. Thus, from then onwards farmers take a day off from ploughing their lands on this day.
Although Nag Panchami is celebrated all over the country, the main concentration of this celebration is seen in Maharashtra and West Bengal. On this day the snake charmers also roam about in the streets and the people offer milk to the snakes. Moreover, people visit the snake temples on this day and worship the stone or metallic icons of the snake. Devotees also make offerings of sweets and milk to the snakes. People wish for the wellbeing and prosperity of their own and their family members on this day.
In South India, on Nag Panchami married women and girls wake up early and take bath and reach the nearest Ant Hill or Snakes home to offer puja. They offer milk to the snake God and pray for the prosperity of their family members and especially brothers. And in the absence of an Ant Hill devotees offer this puja in the snake temples. For Prasad they use a portion of the milk taken for puja, which they bring back home after taking blessings of the Snake God. Also women in South India invite their brothers to their home and perform Aarti praying for their well being and prosperity. Moreover, gifts are being exchanged on this occasion. Nag Panchami is thus observed in different regions of the country in different ways but the motive remains the same, showing devotion to the Snake God.