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Bathukamma is a festival widely celebrated in all areas of the Telangana region. It is a festival of flowers. Batukamma is the combination of two words Batuku + Amma. Batuku means life or come back alive. Amma means mother.
Batukamma - The nature's festival:
The festival begins on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and is celebrated for nine days. These nine days have nine different names. And the final day is celebrated two days before Dussehra (that is on durgastami). During the festival, Young girls and Women make ‘Bathukammas’, and then immerse them in water.
What is Batukamma ?
Bathukamma is an arrangement of flowers in a stack in the shape of Gopuram(cone shape). The flowers that are used to make Bathukamma are Thangedu puvvu, Thamera puvvu, Gunugu puvvu, Banthi puvvu, Chemanthi puvvu, Gummadi puvvu, Dosa puvvu, Katla puvvu, Beera puvvu, Gaddi puvvu etc.
In villages, mostly men get these flowers in the morning whereas women clean their house and vakili and spread water mixed with cow dung. They start preparing Batukamma in the afternoon. Making Batukamma needs patience and time. Women show their creativity in making Batukamma. The flowers are arranged into a circular layer on a plate called thambaalam spread with big leaves or vistharaku(plate made up of leaves). They arrange the flowers in layers to make it look like the shape of a cone.
After making Batukamma all the women bring their Batukamma's to their courtyard(vakili) and place them in the center. They form a circle and dance around Batukamma singing Batukamma folk songs clapping their hands. It gives a colorful view. They continue forming a circle and playing Batukamma till they reach nearby pond or lake and immerse Batukamma in water.
Batukamma is celebrated for nine days. Each day has a name signifying the type of food offerings (Naivedyam) prepared. These food offerings are very simple to prepare. Generally, Young children are involved in the preparation of the offerings for the first eight days of the festival.
How to Celebrate Batukamma ?
Day 1: Engili Pula Bathukamma - falls on Mahalaya Amavasya( also known as Pethara Amavasya). Food offerings (Naivedyam) made on this day are Nuvvulu(Sesame seeds) with biyyampindi(rice flour) or nookalu(coarsely ground wet rice).
Day 2: Atkula Bathukamma - falls on the Padyami (first day) of Ashwayuja masam. Food offerings made on this day are Sappidi pappu(Bland boiled lentils), Bellam (jaggery), and atkulu (flattened parboiled rice).
Day 3: Muddapappu Bathukamma - falls in Ashwayuja masam on Vidiya (the second day). Food offerings made on this day are muddapappu (softened boiled lentils), milk and bellam(jaggery).
Day 4: Nanabiyyam Bathukamma - falls on thidiya(third day) of Ashwayuja masam. Food offerings made on this day are nananesina biyyam (wet rice), milk, and bellam (jaggery).
Day 5: Atla Bathukamma - falls on chathurdi (fourth day) of Ashwayuja masam. Food offerings made on this day are uppidi pindi atlu( pancakes made from wheat lets) or Dosa.
Day 6: Aligina Bathukamma - falls on panchami (fifth day) of Ashwayuja masam. No food offerings are made on this day.
Day 7: Vepakayala Bathukamma - falls on sashti (sixth day) of Ashwayuja masam. Food offerings made on this day are rice flour shaped into the fruits of the neem tree is deep-fried.
Day 8: Vennamuddala Bathukamma - falls on sapthami (seventh day) of Ashwayujam. Food offerings made on this day are nuvvulu(sesame), Venna(Butter) or ghee(clarified butter), and bellam(jaggery).
Day 9: Saddula Bathukamma - falls on ashtami(eighth day) of Ashwayuja masam. Food offerings made on this day are of five varieties which include perugannam saddi(curd rice), chinthapandu pulihora saddi(tamarind rice), nimmakaya saddi(lemon rice), Kobbari saddi(coconut rice) and nuvvula saddi(sesame rice).
Stories behind Bathukamma:
Once upon a time, there was a King named Dharmangada who belonged to the Chola Dynasty. His wife gave birth to a girl child after many years of prayers and rituals. They named their daughter as Lakshmi. Lakshmi has undergone many life and death situations while growing up. So her parents named her Batukamma. Batukamma is a Telugu word meaning Batuku means life or come back alive and Amma means mother.
From then the main purpose of this festival is to pray the goddess with devotion in the strong belief that all the young girls would get their beloved husbands as per their wish and married women celebrate this festival to pray to the goddess for prosperity and good health.
One of the other myths behind this festival is that, According to Hindu religious scholars, Goddess Gouri after killing Mahishasura went into a deep sleep due to fatigue. So all the devotees of Goddess Gouri pray to her to wake up her. It is believed that on the day of Dasami she will wake up.
Another story that is believed to celebrate Batukamma is that Daksh performed yagna. He invited everybody except his daughter Gauri, who married Shiva against his will. But Gauri attended the yagna even without an invitation. She was insulted by her father. Gauri, unable to take this insult, set fire to herself. We believe that to call her to come alive we celebrate Batukamma and worship her with medicinal flowers.
The science behind Batukamma:
During the Bathukamma festival, Young girls and women who are confined to their homes come out with traditional attire with beautiful Batukamma's looks like celebrating the beauty of nature.
The Batukamma celebration shows the relationship between earth, water, and human beings. During these nine days, women make ‘Boddemma’ with earthly mud along with Batukamma and immerse it in a nearby lake or pond.
The flowers used for Bathukamma have a great quality of purifying water. These flowers, when immersed in huge quantities into ponds or lakes, would help in purifying the river bodies making the water-rich with medicinal values and retain more water.
Festivals play a significant role in our day to day lives. We worship different Gods and accordingly there are different festivals that we celebrate to mark the occasion. Festivals provide us with an opportunity to spend quality time with our family, friends and relatives. There are so many rituals attached to the festivals and this makes the entire concept of celebration of festivals even more colorful & exciting.
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