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Goga Navmi - A celebration in North India
Goga Navmi also pronounced Guga Navmi is a festival celebrated in North India and is dedicated to Goga- the Snake God. The day, which falls on the ninth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Bhadrapada of Hindu calendar, is believed to be the day on which Lord Goga descended to earth. The festival is of great importance in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and western Rajasthan, where the day is celebrated with great zeal and fervor.
In 2013, Goga Navami will be celebrated on 29th August.
The Legend of Goga Navami
Gogaji, a man of powerful personality, was a Rajput prince and hero who had the supernatural power of controlling snakes. Even before he was born, Goga had received the blessings of Baba Gorakhnath, who was worshipped with great dedication by his mother. Having remained childless for several years, she was blessed with a child after observing great penance to Baba Gorakhnath.
Gogaji is revered not only by the people of Hindu community but by Muslims as well. While the Hindus know him as Goga Veer, the Muslims refer to him as Jahar Peer. The most common image of Gogaji is that of a man riding a blue horse and holding blue and yellow flags. He is believed to be a protector of children and there are various legends prevalent about his divine birth and his ability to heal people bitten by snakes.
Celebration of Goga Navmi
The devotees of Gogaji are spread across the various regions of Northern India. On the occasion of Goga Navmi, various fairs are organized in the states of Rajasthan, UP, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. The largest of these fairs is held in the district of Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh. The festival is quite similar to another Indian festival of Nag Panchami, which is also dedicated to snakes and Snake God.
In addition to the fairs, huge processions in honor of Gogaji are also taken out in various cities. People also visit the Guga Mari temples where they perform special puja as a part of the festivities. People also tie rakhis on the hands of Gogaji as an assurance of protection from harm.
The festival of Goga Navmi is especially of great significance for childless women. On this day they offer prayers and observe the Goga vrat to be blessed with a child. Married women with children also perform puja to appease Gogaji and seek his protective blessings for their kids.
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