Bathukamma Festival

16 October, 2020
Bathukamma Festival Bathukamma Festival

Bathukamma is a colourful and vibrant festival of Telangana and is celebrated by women, with flowers that grow exclusively in each region. Historically, bathukamma meant "festival of life" and was celebrated to thank Goddess Parvati for her blessings for the crop harvest and income she helped generate that year and again ask her blessing for the next year. In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma' means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’. Goddess Maha Gauriis worshipped during this festival in the form of Bathukamma. Maha Gauri is considered to be the patron goddess of womanhood. So, basically this is a festival of women, which they celebrate as harvesting festival too. It is celebrated during Shardiya Navratri. This year Bathukamma is being celebrated from October 16, 2021.

Significance of Bathukamma

Batukamma celebrates the inherent relationship between the nature and human beings. During the entire preceding week, women make idols of Gauri with mud paying a sort of respect to the element Earth. This idol of Goddess Gauriis called 'boddemma’. Boddemma is immersed in the water along with Batukamma. The element that is part of Boddemma i.e. earth, helps in reinforcing the ponds and helps the ponds and other water bodies in retaining more water. The flowers that are arranged in Batukamma are peculiar in the sense that they have a quality of water purification. When Bathukamma is emersed in water, these flowers help in purifying the water of the ponds. This ritual is of great importance for environment especially water and that too at the times whenthe freshwater ponds are gradually diminishing and drying. This festival basically is to celebrate the beauty of the nature and use the nature to replenish nature, and who knows it better that the humans who multiply the most valuable natural resource, that is human beings.  It is something we indeed have to feel proud of. The festival heralds the beauty of Telangana, its people, especially the mighty womenfolk and the unending knowledge of preserving nature and natural resources.Hence, Bathukamma is the icon of the cultural identity of Telangana.

How is Bathukamma celebrated?

The festival begins a week before the grand ‘Saddula Batukamma’ (the grand finale of the Batukamma festival) which falls two days before Dussehra. For one complete week, they make small ‘Batukammas', play around them every evening, and immerse them in a nearby water pond. On the last day, the male members of the house go out to find and gather the flowers which are available according to the season. A big ‘Batukamma’ is arranged together by the family with the flowers the male members have gathered from outside. These flowers are carefully arranged in rows in circular fashion, with another row and more as many possible in a taambalam or a brass plate in alternate colors. The women folk dress colourfully in the evening traditionally and get ready with ornaments and arrange Batukamma in their courtyard. 

Women play in their courtyards in the evening in circles around the “Batukammalu". The womenfolk carry Bathukamma on their heads before the dusk and move in a procession towards a bigger water body near the village or town. The procession looks vibrant with displayed colourful flowers and traditionally adorned women folk. The women walk in the procession singing the folklores together, and their beautiful voices resonate the streets and houses with vitality and auspiciousness. After reaching the water bodies, the flowers are slowly immersed in water, while the singing continues. The 'Maleeda' is served amongst all who are a part of the procession. Maleeda is a dessert made with sugarand cornbread. 

Versions of Bathukamma

Batukamma, the name is derived from Batuk which means life in Telugu, Amma is the mother. Only songs are sung with mother Goddess Parvathi’s name with comforting, who is without shiva.

Bathukamma also means ‘come back to life mother’ and it is an asking for Goddess Sati to return. According to some legends, on this day goddess Sati was reborn as Parvati and thus people worship Gauri, the form of Parvati during this festival.

According to one version, Goddess Gauri killed 'Mahishasura' the demon after a fierce fight. She was very tired and due to fatigue; she went to sleep on the 'Aswayuja Padyami'. The devotees prayed and waited for Devi to wake up, and she woke up on the Dasami.

According to the second version, Bathukamma, was the daughter of the 'Chola' King 'Dharmangada' and 'Satyavati'. The Royal Couple lost their hundred sons during war. The Couple was childless and they prayed to Goddess Lakshmi to be born in their house, as their child. Goddess Lakshmi acceded to their prayers and blessed them with their desired boon. When the goddess Lakshmi took birth in the royal family as a daughter of the Chola King, all the sages came to bless her. They all blessed her with immortality "Bathukamma or Live Forever".

This festival is celebrated with joy and gaiety. Dance performances, music, dramas, and a variety of cultural events for entertainment are organised during this festival and thousands of tourists and locals gather to enjoy. 'Jataras' are also held during this month-long celebration.

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