Etymology of Bathukamma
Bathukamma in Telugu means ‘come alive Mother Goddess’ and the festival represents the cultural spirit of Telangana, symbolizing the patron Goddess of womanhood.
Legend of Bathukamma
There is a legend about Bathukamma festival mentioned in Telugu books. Daksha performed a Yajna and invited everyone but except his youngest daughter, Gauri, who married to Lord Shiva against his wish. Against Shiva’s will, Gauri went to the Yajna and was insulted along with Lord Shiva. She was unable to tolerate the insult and sacrificed her life by setting herself ablaze. Wishing to bring her back, women present her flowers and make turmeric idol of the Goddess and sing and dance around the idol of Bathukamma.
Another legend of Bathukamma Festival is also mentioned in one of the historical texts scripted in Telugu. Centuries ago, King Dharmangada of Chola Dynasty used to rule South India. He was childless for many years after marriage. After performing many pujas and rituals, his wife gave birth to Goddess Lakshmi. Baby Lakshmi survived many accidents. So, her parents named her Bathukamma. Since then, Bathukamma festival is celebrated by women in Telangana region.
Celebrated of Bathakamma
Bathukamma festival begins on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and the festival continues till 9 days, ending on the day of Durgashtami. During the first 5 days, women clean their courtyard. The cow dung is then mixed with water and spread throughout as the ground-base. Then it is further decorated with a Rangoli which is made of rice flour. The preparations and decorating the Rangoli and other things is folk art and generally, the preparations begin from afternoon. The men collect the flowers of vibrant colours and types for the preparations. There flowers are mainly; Celosia, Senna, Marigold, Lotus, Cucurbita, Cucumis etc. On this final day of Bathukamma, immersion of Bathukamma in water bodies is celebrated with utmost devotion and enthusiasm through out Telangana region.
Women participate in the festival with great fervour dressing up in their best, wearing traditional Silk Sarees and jewellery while young girls wear ‘Langa-Oni’ the traditional attire of young girls of the region. The women gather in large numbers along with their Bathukammas in their locality, place them in the middle and dance around them while singing soul stirring Bathukamma folk songs.
The songs are more of the stories of common woman, her dreams, her responsibilities, plights sung spontaneously most of the time. Some times the songs describe just the beauty of the nature and some times reflect the socio-economic and political conditions of the region. After singing and dancing, Bathukammas are set afloat in lake or river. On the occasion, the women exchange Turmeric and Kumkum which married women consider most auspicious. "Maleeda", a prasadam made of jaggery, is prepared and distributed among the women.