“My best memory is of when I was a young girl, waiting for the auspicious day where all women wear white pattu sarees and girls wear white langavonis. Even the food exchanged is white. Atla Bathukamma, one of the 9 days of celebration of Bathukamma.
Yesterday was Engilipuvula Bathukamma; the first day of the festival always begins on Amavasya. To me, Bathukamma is the divine worship of mother earth, flora and nature as a whole. It is truly splendid to experience the flowers, lamps, and the song and dance of a community. The song and play forms the heart of the Bathukamma spirit. Most festivals offer flowers to goddesses, but what is beautiful about this festival is that the flower is worshipped itself. It is a proud symbol of our Telangana culture and heritage, much like Onam is unique to the roots of Kerala.
The mornings are when women make their own bathukammas with wildflowers, after which there is a communal celebration involving a synchronized dance. This dance reminds me of weaving of a cloth, where hands and feet move in rhythm with one another. Once the night arrives, the bathukammas are immersed in local water bodies, and considered to cleanse and heal the waters. They are treated like daughters of the motherland, handled with care and left with an emotional farewell.
After the immersion, there is the exchange of native food called Saddulu, along with the exchange of bottu, pasupu. You are surrounded by women adorned like goddesses themselves, carrying the symbolism of nature (bathukammas) in their hands.
I run a Women Entrepreneurs Community Association ( WEAIM , earlier was Womenergy Network ). Every year we celebrate a huge event in the city TWEB : Telangana Women Entrepreneurs Bathukamma, with a thousand plus women entrepreneurs in the city
It’s been 4 annual seasons so far. This year due to COVID, we could not gather for the festival. However, our divine sisterhood remains untouched.
Ancient stories say that after the cure of the largest epidemic that once occurred on this land, the healing and living spirit was celebrated symbolically by Bathukamma, the symbol of the life force. We pray for Mother Earth to heal from this pandemic.”
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