Telugu Association of Greater Chicago (T.A.G.C – First Telugu association in North America) celebrated Batukamma/Dusshera celebrations in grand scale with the support of Telangana State Government Tourism department and the American Telangana Association. People of Telangana celebrate Batukamma and Dusshera festivals cutting across religion and caste. Batukamma festival is an integral part of the Telangana life and culture and is a symbol of family relationships.
TAGC celebrated Batukamma/Dusshera celebrations with more than 1000 plus guests on September 24th, 2017 at Gazebo hall, SVS Balaji Temple Aurora, IL. Since 2002, Telugu families in and around Chicago area gathered together and celebrated Batukamma /Dusshera in a traditional way with families. Later from 2011, TAGC Board has unanimously decided to celebrate Batukamma /Dusshera event under the TAGC banner in collaboration with national organizations. Last year, Telangana State Tourism department officially announced supporting TAGC as their first international Association to be a part of the state government festivals as well as all the events conducted by TAGC.
Under the TAGC President Elect Jyothi Chintalapani’s leadership and women board of directors took the initiative to make this event a grand success with uniqueness, all along maintaining the traditions. The team decided to purchase similar Pochampally silk sarees to celebrate the festival with more enthusiasm. About 125 women wore matching sarees and brought color and uniqueness to set a record among all other Batukamma celebrations across the world. This initiative was done to support impoverished weavers in Telangana and help them financially. Due to the lack of available work, some workers have even committed suicide. Chicago women came forward to purchase sarees from them directly, as it would provide employment to the workers. These Sarees were provided by Venkatesh Handloom.
Gazebo hall and central area were decorated with colorful fall flowers under the leadership of TAGC decoration committee chair Swetha Janamanchi and volunteers. Gazebo hall started filling with colorful & nicely decorated Batukamma from noon onwards. TAGC women volunteers prepared TAGC Batukamma around XX inches. TAGC President and Board offered sarees, flowers, pasupu & kumkum, vodibiyyam and nose ornament to goddess Parvathi at temple, prior to the event.
TAGC Batukamma chair Mamatha Lankala and TAGC President Ramachandra R Ade welcomed all the guests with brief introduction about the significance of the festival. Delicious vegetarian lunch with a wide variety was offered to women and all guests. Event started with a prayer song and continued with playing Batukamma in the Gazebo hall until 5:30 PM. Well renowned folk singer Shalini came all the way from India to sing and encourage the women. Women played Batukamma with energy and passion till the end of the event and showed the world that we did not forget culture and tradition. Kids participation and involvement was the highlight of the event. At the end of the event, all the Batukamma’s were taken as a procession with live traditional sannai and dolu musical performers and were immersed in a pond close by with the help of TAGC men volunteers. TAGC president Ramachandra Reddy Ade along with Batukamma celebration chair Mamatha Lankala and board of directors presented the gifts to Batukamma competition winners.
TAGC raised funds to support hurricane Harvey& Irma relief fund by selling Telangana traditional snacks (Ariselu & Sakinaalu) which were prepared onsite under the leadership of Food Committee chair, Uma Avaduta. Fundraising committee chair, Vani Yetrintala played a key role in raising 1000 dollars by selling snacks with help of youth volunteers.
After Batukamma immersion, all the families participated in Shammi/Jammi puja conducted by Balaji temple priest Sri Hanuman Prasad garu on the occasion of Dusshera. All the families took the blessing from the elder guest by sharing the Jammi
President appreciated all the women BOD’s and volunteers for their contribution in making the celebration a grand success and emphasized the importance of these festival celebrations for preserving the culture for younger generations. Also thanked Telangana state tourism department ministry team, American Telangana Association team, SVS Balaji temple management, sponsors for the event and media partners.
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