Times Square resounds with singing, dancing for Flower Festival of Bathukamma

The 20-feet tall floral Bathukamma at the Bathukamma festival organized October 8, 2022, at New York’s Times Square, by the Telugu Association of North America (TANA). Standing near it are NYC Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan on the left and TANA President Anjaiah Chowdary Lavu on the right.
Photo: Courtesy TANA

New Yorkers sang and danced around the impressive 20-feet tall Bathukamma, a floral idol, when the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) celebrated the festival at Times Square October 8, 2022.

The festival was celebrated for the first time at the iconic “Crossroad of the world” Times Square, becoming the center of attraction for not just the organizers and devotees but also passers-by, many of whom joined the folk singing and dancing.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (far left) addresses the gathering at the Bathukamma festival held October 8, 2022 at the Times Square in New York, organized by the Telugu Association of North America (TANA). Others in the photo are TANA Cultural Coordinator Sirisha Tunuguntla (second from left), Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan (third from left), TANA President Anjaiah Chowdary Lavu (second from right), and TANA former President Jay Talluri (far right). Photo: courtesy TANA

New York City Mayor Eric Adams was chief guest at the festival, along with Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan. As part of the celebration, the Mayor presented a proclamation to TANA. Special guests at the festival included actress Ansuya Bhargava and singer Mangli who both performed at the event, drawing huge crowds.

Mayor Adams and Deputy Commissioner Chauhan, along with others participated in the festivities, joining in the dance gesture of touching the chin with the hand.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (left), actress Ansuya Bhargava (center) and Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan (right) participating in the singing and dancing at the Bathukamma festival organized by the Telugu Association of North America (TANA) October 8, 2022, at Times Square. Photo: courtesy TANA

Corresponding to Sharadiya Navratri time, Bathukamma festival begins on the ‘sarva pitru amavasya’, continuing for nine days. ‘Shakti’ or the female goddess worshipped, is said to be a lover of flowers, and flowers feature in Bathukamma celebrations. A hollow temple ‘shikhar’, resembling the ‘gopuram’ is created of bamboo sticks and decorated with different flowers, with the turmeric ‘gouramma’ on top of the pinnacle.

Bathukamma is a ‘festival of life’, a harvest time flower-festival in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in India, mainly celebrated by and dedicated to women. Traditionally, men of the household gather varieties of flowers and bring them to the women who artistically create the Bathukamma from them.

Like Navratri, Bathukamma is also a nine-day festival where women and girls dress in nice clothes. Each of the nine days of the festival is celebrated with traditional singing of praise of the goddess ‘Durgamma’ whose symbolic image is created from turmeric. Like Durga, this image is also immersed on the last day before which married women apply the turmeric paste on their ‘mangal sutras’. The festival is also celebrated by young unmarried girls who hope to be married to men of their choice with the goddess’s grace.



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