Nine days of celebrations held in Auckland
One of the largest and most revered events of the South Indian State of Telangana was celebrated in Auckland from Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, located at 489 Dominion Road, Auckland.
Known as ‘Maha Bathukamma,’ entailing the worship of ‘Goddess Bathukamma,’ an image of Goddess Gauri or Goddess Durga, this is a Festival of Flowers marked primarily by women praying and rejoicing for the welfare of their husbands, children, families, neighbours, communities, the country and the world.
The concept and scope is so vast and versatile that the voice of the Festival is believed to reach the entire Universe.
Auckland based Telangana Jagurthi New Zealand (TJNZ) organised the ‘Maha Bathukamma’ incorporating ‘Urura Bathukamma,’ nine days of celebrations in different areas of the City from September 20 to September 28, 2017.
The event, supported by the Telugu Association of New Zealand, Telangana Association of New Zealand and the Telangana Rashtriya Samithi (TRS) New Zealand, included competitions for women.
September 24 Event
“In support of Handloom weavers of Telangana, our Association presented Handloom sarees to the winners in the competitions,” she said.
Ms Muddam said that Kalvakuntla Kavitha, Member of Parliament released the ‘Maha Bathukamma Poster recently and invited all women of Telangana in New Zealand to participate in the festivities.
“This is a great initiative exercised by Aruna Jyothi Muddam and members of the TJNZ Executive Committee. I hope that all our women will participate in ‘Maha Bathukamma’ and promote the culture and tradition of our Telangana State,” she had said.
Kavitha is a rising star in Telangana and is the first woman Parliamentarian of the State. She is a qualified software engineer who was employed in the United States of America. She returned home in 2004. She is the daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and was involved in the Telangana Movement.
She has a large following in her home State and among the Telugu-speaking people all over the world. Thousands of people thronged to have a glimpse of her when she visited New Zealand last year.
Kavitha is credited for having revived ‘Maha Bathukamma’ in Telangana.
For more details, please contact Aruna Jyothi Muddam on 021-0303341.
About the Festival of Flowers
Women of Telangana mark the ‘Maha Bathukamma,’ denoting the arrival of ‘The Mother Goddess,’ during Navaratri (‘Nine Nights)’ which occurs during September-October every year. The Festival incorporates ‘Bathukamma Panduga,’ the second most important observance after ‘Vijaya Dashami,’ or the last day of Dassera.
Representing the cultural spirit of Telangana, ‘Bathukamma’ is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers, most of them with medicinal values, in seven concentric layers in the shape of Temple Gopuram (Tower).
‘Bathukamma’ commences on ‘Mahalaya Amavasya,’ culminating on the ninth day with ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ or ‘Pedda Bathukamma’ (‘Ashwayuja Ashtami,’ popularly known as ‘Durgashtami’).
Guinness Record Event
Last year, on October 8, 2016, ‘Bathukamma’ entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having achieved the participation of 9292 women gathered around a 20-feet high stack of flowers arranged in concentric layers. Millions of people visited the Lal Bahadur (LB) Shastri Stadium where the Festival was held. Celosia, Cassia, Marigold, Chrysanthemum, Luffa, Pumpkin plants flowers and other flowers are used in this Festival.
The Festival was organised by the Telangana Tourism Department in association with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
As well as being a religious festival, ‘Bathukamma’ lifts the spirit of the community to a state of solidarity and social harmony. The rituals and symbolisms of the Festival enshrine the ethos of gender equality and mutual respect and a harmonious balance of all castes and social groups.
During Bathukamma Navaratri, men and boys of households would pick flowers or purchase them, to be placed in decorative formats by women. Families invite their daughters who are usually away as married or working women to their homes to participate in the Festival.
Vivacity at Sunset
The vivacity of the celebrations peaks as sunset approaches. Women, in their traditional attire, will carry their Bathukamma to the streets, place them at a public place such as a playground or a park and decorate them as they sing and dance.
The songs would reflect the history, heritage, traditions of the land handed down from generation to generation, each generation adding its own flavour to produce a synthesis between the ancient and the zeitgeist (spirit of times).
Hours later, the Bathukamma would be carried to the nearest pond, canal or river and immersed, symbolising a full circle of life, seasons and times.