Nightly event at community halls with the Mega Festival on October 24
Telangana women dancing around the Bathukamma during the event in 2018 (TANZ Facebook)
Telangana Association of New Zealand (TANZ), the only registered organisation to represent Telanganites in the country commenced the ‘Bathukamma Celebrations’ last night (Friday, October 16, 2020) with hundreds of women and children in attendance at the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, in Mt Eden.
Bathukamma is a colourful and vibrant Festival of Telangana, celebrated by women, with flowers that grow exclusively in each region.
This Festival is a symbol of Telangana’s cultural identity.
Programme at various places
TANZ President Narendra Reddy Patlola said that the Bathukamma Festival is a good occasion for the members of the Association, their families and guests and friends to get together after several months of Covid-19 lockdown.
“As per tradition, nightly programmes will be held at various community halls for the convenience of members and their guests, before returning to Mt Eden War Memorial Hall on October 24, 2020 to conduct the ‘Grand Bathukamma Festival,’ an event that should not be missed. The daily events are being held in all parts of the City, in North, South, East and West Auckland. The TANZ Executive Committee 2020 and the Fundraising Committee invites everyone to the events,” he said.
Mr Patlola said that as well as free entry, each evening will feature non-stop entertainment, surprise gift hamper and dinner,” he said.
Calendar of Events
Friday, October 16, 2020: Engilipula Bathukamma, Mt Eden War Memorial Hall
Saturday, October 17, 2020: Atkula Bathukamma at Balmoral Community Hall, Sandringham
Sunday, October 18, 2020: Muddapappu Bathukamma, Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall
Monday, October 19, 2020: Nanabiyyam Bathukamma, Te Atatu Community Centre
Tuesday, October 20, 2020: Atla Bathukamma, Mary Thomas Centre
Wednesday, October 21, 2020: Aligina Bathukamma is a day of pure piety- no event
Thursday, October 22, 2020: Vepakayala Bathukamma, 20 Lisnoble Road, Flatbush
Friday, October 23, 2020: Vennamuddala Bathukamma, Kelston Community Centre
Saturday, October 24, 2020: Saddula Bathukamma, Mt Eden War Memorial Hall
About Bathukamma Festival
Bathukamma occurs during the latter half of monsoon before the onset of winter in India.
The monsoon rains usually bring plenty of water into the freshwater ponds of Telangana and it is also the time season wildflowers bloom in various vibrant colours across the uncultivated and barren plains of the region.
The most abundant of these are the ‘Gunuka Poolu’ and ‘Tangedu Poolu,’ while Banti, Chemanti and Nandi-Vardhanam will also be available.
Bathukamma is celebrated by the women folk of Telangana, heralding the beauty of nature in vibrant colours of multitudinous flowers.
Bathukamma Festival is a symbol of Telangana Culture
Human circle of love
The Festival begins a week before the grand ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ (the grand finale of the Bathukamma Festival) which falls two days before Dussehra. The women folk normally get back to their parent’s home from their in-laws and breathe the fresh air of freedom to celebrate the colours of flowers. Throughout the Bathukamma Festival, they make small images of Bathukamma, play around them every evening and immerse them in a nearby water pond.
On the last day, men of the house go into the wild plains and gather the flowers like Gunuka and Tangedi. They bring home bagful of these flowers and the entire household sits down to make the big Bathukamma. The flowers are carefully arranged row after row in a brass plate (called Taambalam) in circular rows and in alternate colours.
As the evening approaches, women, dressed colourfully with ornaments and place the Bathukamma in their courtyard. Women from neighbourhood also gather in a large circle around the floral arrangement and singing songs by circling it repeatedly, building a beautiful human circle of unity, love, sisterhood.
Bathukamma celebrates the inherent relationship between earth, water and the human beings. During the preceding week, women make ‘Boddemma’ (a Deity of Gowri or Mother Durga) in earthly mud). This image is immersed in the bond along with Bathukamma.
Modern environmentalists are awed to learn that the flowers used in Bathukamma have the quality of purifying water and as such, when immersed in abundance into the pond have the effect of cleansing the water and making the environment much better.
Jacinda Ardern Chief Guest
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was the Chief Guest at the ‘Maha Bathukamma Festival’ organised by TANZ on Friday, October 12, 2018 at Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, 489 Dominion Road, Mount Eden, Auckland.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with the then TANZ President Kalyan Rao Kasuganti and other members of the Executive Committee at the Festival in 2018
“I understand that ‘Maha Bathukamma’ Festival is celebrated to worship ‘Mother Goddess,’ and that women are the principal participants. I am delighted to see so many women of Telangana here. I wish all the people of this illustrious States well. Jai Telangana!” she said.
Later, she danced with the women around the floral decorations that are central to the Maha Bathukamma Festival.
First PM in Telangana history
Speaking at the event, former TANZ President Kalyanrao Kasuganti read out a message from the then Telangana Non-Resident Indian Affairs Minister Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao greeting Ms Ardern.
“Jacinda Ardern is the first Prime Minister of a country to attend the ‘Maha Bathukamma Festival’ anywhere in the world. The people of Telangana are gratified by her gesture,” he said.
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