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The story behind Bathukamma

King Dhramangada and his wife Satyavati lost their hundred sons in the battlefield. Thereafter they prayed to Goddess Lakshmi urging her to be born as their daughter on earth. The Goddess, impressed by their dedication, was born as Princess Lakshmi in the Chola dynasty. She was a symbol of the ideal woman---beautiful, powerful and eternal. Thus, thereafter, all young unmarried women pray and worship her to attain bliss and happiness when they get married.

According to Mythology, Goddess Gauri killed Mahishasur—the king of demons during this phase and out of fatigue, went off to sleep. She was awakened by prayers of devotees on the day of Dashami.

Bathukamma is also celebrated to commemorate Goddess Parvati who also happens to be an ardent lover of flowers.

Rituals

The first five days of the Bathukamma festival is spent on preparations. During this time, women clean and white wash their homes. Cow dung is used to purify the ambience thus welcoming Goddess Gauri and seeking her blessings. The men of the house are given the responsibility of collecting various seasonal flowers to decorate the Bathukamma

Women decorate their houses with floral designs made with white wash or rice flour paste. Cow dung cakes are also placed around the house.

The ‘Bathukamma ‘or the flower arrangement is made by women. It is a conical arrangement of flowers that are placed in seven concentric rings in a clay pot. The top of the arrangement is decorated with a pumpkin flower and a lump of turmeric.

On the day of the festival, young unmarried girls dance around these Bathukammas singing traditional songs and stories from the past. Thereafter these cones are set afloat in the river after worshipping Goddess Gauri with flowers and sweets.

A special sweet dish called maleeda made up of jaggery is made for this festival and is distributed among all post-puja.

Different cultural activities like dance, music and theatres are organized during Bathukamma. Local street plays called ‘jataras’ are an important watch out during this time. Special Bathukamma songs are sung during the celebration.

Colours, water and flowers are an integral part of this festival. Women wear new sarees and adorn themselves with gold jewellery. Young girls wear the traditional ‘Langa Oni’ meaning the half sarees during the rituals. Married women exchange kumkum and turmeric on each other’s face after the Bathukamma is immersed in water.

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