Bathukamma is a festival that is celebrated in the state of Telangana and in some parts of Andhra Pradesh as well. This festival celebrates the beginning of the season called ‘Sarad’ or ‘Sharath Ruthu’.
The Bathukamma festival lasts for 9 days in tandem with the Durga Navarathri festival. It usually takes place in the month of September or October. The first day is usually declared as a public holiday. The last day of the Bathukamma celebrations falls on Durgashtami day, which is two days before the festival of Dussehra.
Bathukamma public holiday dates in 2021
In 2021, the Bathukamma festival begins on 6 October, Thursday.
|Bathukamma||Wednesday, Begins on 6th October 2021||Telangana & Andhra Pradesh|
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During the festival, a flower stack is arranged to resemble the ‘gopuram’ of a temple. The flower stack is made of seven concentric circles that are created with medicinal and seasonal flowers. This is done to indulge the Goddess who is thought to be fond of flowers.
Women are honored during this festival. The festival is celebrated by women wearing their finest attire with jewelry to match.
The festival commences with the cleaning of the courtyard in houses by women. The Bathukamma is prepared using cow dung on the first five days of the festival. Five cone-shaped lumps are placed in the courtyard. The colorful wildflowers, which are in season, that is used to create the Bathukamma on subsequent days are collected by men from far and wide. A symbolic idol of the Goddess as Parvati or Gauri, made of turmeric, and shaped as a ball is placed inside the stack of flowers. This is called ‘Guramma’.
The flower displays called Bathukamma are immersed in the nearby river on the ninth and last day. Before immersion, the turmeric balls are retrieved and used by married woman to apply a paste on their ‘mangalsutra’. This is to invite the Goddess to protect her husband and marriage.
Songs are sung by women which detail the milestones in a woman’s life, her relationships, joys and sorrows, etc.
On each day of the festival, a different offering is made to the Goddess, which is called ‘naivedyam’.These are as follows:
- First day (Engili Pula Bathukamma): Sesame seeds mixed with rice flour or coarsely ground wet rice.
- Second day (Atkula Bathukamma): Boiled lentils, flattened and parboiled rice, and jaggery.
- Third day (Mundapappu Bathukamma): Boiled lentils, jaggery, and milk.
- Fourth day (Nanabiyaam Bathukamma): Wet rice, jaggery, and milk.
- Fifth day (Atla Bathukamma): Dosa or wheat pancakes
- Sixth day (Aligina Bathukamma): No food offering.
- Seventh day (Vepakayala Bathukamma): Deep-fried rice flour cakes shaped as the fruits of the neem tree
- Eighth day (Vennamuddala Bathukamma): Sesame seeds, jaggery, butter/ghee.
- Ninth day (Saddula Bathukamma): Five types of cooked rice, such as curd rice, tamarind rice, sesame rice, coconut rice, and lemon rice.
Origin of Bathukamma Festival
The word ‘Bathukamma’ means ‘Mother Goddess Come Back to Life’. It is the ‘festival of life’ in the Telangana region. It is celebrated to thank and worship Goddess Parvati for the abundance of crops during the harvest and the prosperity that was generated because of it in the current year. The celebrations also include seeking her blessings and asking her to return for a bountiful harvest of crops the following year as well.
It is thought that the festival originated during the rule of a king of the Chola Dynasty, called King Dharmangada. When his wife gave birth to Goddess Lakshmi, after undergoing many years of prayers, they gave her the name Bathukamma, which means Life and Mother. The baby had survived numerous accidents but survived and thrived to be a healthy young girl. This is why the festival is celebrated by women.
The festival is also dedicated to Goddess Gauri and her battle against the demon king ‘Mahishasura’ which took place for nine days which later became the reason for the Navarathri festival to be celebrated.
No matter what the origin of the festival, it is a time of great gaiety and joy for everyone, especially for the womenfolk.
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