“Through out my childhood, the nine days of Bathukamma were a grand celebration for the entire family at our native place in Karimnagar! I looked forward to this month every year. Meeting cousins, sleeping and eating together, dancing everyday and performing different traditions gave me immense joy. The entire district would celebrate the festival together, complete with competitions to declare the most ‘thopu Bathukamma’, based on size, colors and attractiveness. Early every morning, we had to wake up, get dressed in traditional clothes after cleaning ourselves with natural ingredients and attend the puja, before we could even sip water. The immersion process was also great fun. We’d all board lorries together and go to the nearest water body. One such time, I nearly lost track of my grandmother amidst all the Bathukamma bearing women. Luckily, I found her at the immersion point. Although it seems funny today, the seven year old me was scared out of her wits.
The festival has always been considered very holy and pious and my mother always told me to participate in all traditions whole-heartedly and dedicatedly.
I’ve heard many mythological stories behind the celebrations, like those of Goddess Gauri, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Paravathi but always learnt that these festivities are to ensure the well-being of our families, especially husbands. It is an experience in itself. The seasonal flowers, decorations, special music, coordinated dance, Puja and the immersion. As time passed by, our family found it difficult to meet every year for the celebrations, but we continue to celebrate the festival in our houses in different cities, keeping the tradition alive.
Children these days might not find ‘bathukamma’ cool or happening, but to preserve our culture is afterall in the hands of the next generation. Every bit of the celebration teaches us different values, gives us abundant memories and makes us a better person and to miss out on that would be like missing out on a large part of your life!”
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