First “Bathukamma” Celebration in Atlanta
The first Bathukamma celebrations were organized under the aegis of TDF – USA for Telanganites living in Metro Atlanta on October 1, 2006. The event was well attended with over 120 people.
Telanganites poured in from different parts of Metro Atlanta bringing colorfully decorated Bathukammas with them. The word Bathukamma means to live, when women pray to Goddess Gowri to shower blessings on their husbands so that they may live a long and prosperous life. The many colors of life are celebrated through a several species of flowers. Bathukamma celebrates the inherent relationship between earth, water and human life.
People purchased various colorful flowers for Bathukamma preparation. This activity brought back nostalgic memories from "back home" where children used to collect various wild flowers like Gunugu poolu, Thangedu Poolu and other domestic flowers like Beera Poolu and Cutley Poolu from the fields, not necessarily their own. The ladies creatively substituted locally available flowers like different color roses, chamanti, banti etc in decorating the Bathukamma's.
The picnic started around 12 noon with people trickling in slowly. Every one brought different kind of rice items, snacks and curries with Telangana flavor; it was reminiscent of a rural Telangana get together. The conversation in Telangana Telugu, with a distinct accent transformed Sharon Springs Park into a village of Telangana. Headed by Mr. G.S. Reddy, Ratan Elugunti, Srijan Joginapally, Venkat Veeraneni and Madhukar Pasham organized event on behalf of Atlanta-TDF chapter. Visitors said that they never imagined they would play Bathukamma in America.
After the event kicked off, games for children were conducted followed by a delicious potluck festival lunch.
The actual Bathukamma started around 3.30 pm keeping in mind the tradition. It was colorful with women in traditional sarees, girls in langa/voni, with Bathukammas made of locally available flowers, which were placed in the center and women played around the Bathukammas. The elderly women performed bathukamma Pooja (Gowri Pooja) and distributed Pasupu Kumkum to all other ladies. It was a visual treat when women danced around Bathukammas with Bathukamma songs in the rhythm of "Bathukamma Bathukamma Uyyaalo..".
Prizes for winners for various games and Bathukamma decorations were given followed by the thank you note by organizers. Ratan Elugunti family's dedication in event arrangements, Srijan Joginapally's scheduling and coordination, Madhukar Pasham's infectious enthusiasm and bountiful energy, Venkat Veeraneni's dedication, made for a successful event.
TDF-USA is a non-profit organization created to provide a platform for non-resident Telanganites to come together to discuss various problems faced by Telangana people. Please visit www.telangana.org for information about TDF-USA.
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