National Serpent Day is a day of reflection and coming to grips with our fears. It’s dedicated to pondering our reactions to the prime material behind that expensive high-fashion snake-skin handbag. Its unique, slithering form has long been associated with wisdom and power, used for either good or evil. Either way, it is apparent that the serpent deserves a day dedicated to its position in culture over the last few thousand years. In all honesty, where would Adam and Eve be without the third party?
Learn about National Serpent Day
The serpent is an animal that has been used to symbolize evil across a lot of cultures and religions. However, it has also been associated with fertility and medicine as well. There are a lot of tales and legends that refer to the serpent. Of course, these are not merely mythical creatures. In fact, there are more than 3,000 species of snakes across the Earth. The green anaconda is the heaviest, the reticulated python is the longest, and the Barbados thread snake is the smallest, at roughly only four inches. National Serpent Day is designed to raise awareness about the serpent.
The main symbols that are typically associated with the serpent include vengefulness and vindictiveness, medicine and poison, guardianship, and fertility and rebirth. In modern times, the serpent can be associated with political propaganda and modern medicine. National Serpent Day gives you the opportunity to delve deeper into this creature and find out more about what it means for different people all over the world, as well as the role that it has played in history too.
History of National Serpent Day
Serpents have been both feared and revered, at times simultaneously, in many different periods of human history. Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity, the worship of which was first known documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BCE or first century CE. Veneration of the figure appears spread throughout Mesoamerica between 600–900 AD.
Quetzalcoatl, also called “the Plumed Serpent,” played a dominant role as a god, model, myth, historical figure and symbol in Aztec culture. According to legend, he was incarnated on earth and founded the fabulous capital of the Toltecs, Tollan. Quetzalcoatl represented the universal quest for meaning in life, and was the guardian of water and rain, a precious resource of the Aztecs.
In the Hindu regions of Asia the serpent, or naga, is considered a nature spirit. As in the Aztec belief system, Naga is the protector of springs, wells and rivers, and so serpents bring rain, and fertility. The serpent is also a fascinating biblical symbol. Perhaps the most common is the portrayal of the serpent as an enemy in general, or as Satan in particular.
However, a serpent is later used to foreshadow Jesus’ death on the cross and the salvation it makes possible when a bronze serpent appears on a cross that the severely ill Israelites looked upon to recover, which can be found in John 3:14-15. Anthropologists have argued that the serpent as a symbol of death is built into our unconscious minds because of evolutionary history, as for millions of years, snakes were mainly just predators of primates. Nowadays, a snake wrapped around the Rod of Asclepius is on the Star of Life, the worldwide symbol of medical aid.
How to celebrate National Serpent Day
Seeing as serpents have often been associated with wisdom and cunning, should you decide to celebrate National Serpent Day, you could spend this time contemplating some of your key life experiences and deciding what lessons they’ve taught you and how you could use this knowledge to improve your life in the future.
After all, isn’t learning from your mistakes one of the most important skills you could learn? Serpents have also been associated with medical care and attention, so maybe take the time to sit down with your family and go over the basics of first aid–what to do in case of being stung by a bee, or what the safe does of certain basic medications are, or how to dress a burn, or how to bandage a cut properly. That kind of knowledge has never hurt anyone, especially not children or teenagers, who are exceptionally accident prone.
You could also spend some time learning about the symbolization associated with the serpent. This makes fascinating reading, as the serpent has been a prominent figure different religions and mythology; from Christianity to African mythology. You can spend hours and hours reading up on the serpent, which happens to be one of the most widespread and oldest mythological symbols. Snakes often represent dual expression of evil and good, and they have been linked to some of mankind’s oldest rituals.
We’ll give you a brief insight into the use of the serpent in some religions and mythologies to give you a headstart. Let’s start with Native American mythology! Some Native America tribes have referred to the rattlesnake as a king of snakes and grandfather that has the ability to cause tempest and give fair winds. In Jewish mythology, Eve was lured by a serpent in the Garden of Eden with the promise of being like God, tempting her even though she had already had God’s warning.
There have been many different examples of serpents in Greek mythology as well. We’re sure most of you are familiar with Medusa; a vicious female monster that had hair consisting of venomous, living snakes. Typhon is another evil figure that has serpents coming from his body, although in this case, they come from his legs. Typhon is considered the enemy of the Olympian gods. There is also the Minoan Snake Goddess, who had a serpent brandished from both hands. Rather than evoking her role as the Mistress of the Animals, it is thought that this was an indication of her role as a source of wisdom.
You will also find references of serpents in Nordic mythology, Nagas, Christianity, United Arab Emirates culture, Ancient Iran, African mythology, and more. So, spend some time doing a bit of reading on this subject on National Serpent Day. It’s truly fascinating to learn about the different ways that this animal was considered.
Serpents deserve a day dedicated to them; its presence is somehow necessary, what with all of the fables and stories abound with snake-inspired situations and wise or evil serpents, that have filled our culture for as long as any of our ancestors could remember.