Nothing brings people together like festivals do. They certainly play an important role in nation building, bringing people of all cultures, religions and socio-economic backgrounds together, in an evening of joyous celebration.
So it was, with the annual Bathukamma Festival celebration organised and hosted by the Telangana Association of South Australia on Saturday, 5th October 2019 Thebarton Community Centre.
Bathukamma is a vibrant and colorful floral festival celebrated predominantly by the Telangana people. The essence of the festival is to protect nature and preserve natural resources. And to give freedom and respect for women and blessings for a long and prosperous life to the girl child.
A rendering of the Indian and Australian national anthem by the children was followed by speeches from invited guests and dignitaries, Hon Rachel Sanderson, Minister for Child Protection, Mr Joe Szakacs MP, representing the Leader of Opposition Mr Peter Malinauskas and Mr. Michael Coxon, Mayor, West Torrens Council.
Another highlight of the event was the release of the Telangana Jagruthi souvenir. Telangana Jagruthi, established by Smt. Kalvakuntla Kavitha, MP in 2008, played a pivotal role in restoring the glory of Bathukamma festival and transforming it into a cultural symbol of Telangana.
No Indian festival is complete without song and dance and the dance group mentored by Kavitha Tangeda and Soumya Neelam led with a wonderful Bathukamma dance, opening the floor for all the women to join in, finishing off in a crescendo with Kolatam.
The women then immersed the beautiful floral arrangements in water with winners announced for the top 3. The evening ended with traditional food and sweets and an opportunity to forget all worries, celebrate the positive side of life, and bring friends, families and communities together in a bond of love and friendship.
One cannot wrap the event without acknowledging the incredible generosity of the volunteers, committee members and their families who made this event and its enormous success a reality. All-volunteer organizations are a major social and economic force, but are seldom given credit for their work.
President Venkat Lingampally and his team, through example foster a spirit where others contribute gladly, not reluctantly or guiltily. It has to be noted that both Rachel Sanderson and Joe Szakacs commented on the Association’s commitment to serve the community through initiatives such as blood donation drives, planting trees, cleaning up the beach campaign and cultural events.
An estimated attendance of over 350 guests attended the festival.