Boddemma fest undergoes changes

Untouched:Celosia flowers which were usually used in Boddemma festival remain uncut, near Adilabad town on Sunday.- Photo: S. Harpal Singh  

More number of women in Adilabad stayed away from manually making the flowery Boddemma cones leaving large tracts of celosia wild grass intact. The just-concluded women-centric festival, known as Bathukamma elsewhere in Telangana, has undergone a metamorphosis, including jettisoning of activities like collection of flowers and organising them in the shape of beautiful cones.

The Boddemma festival, like everywhere in Telangana, has become a much showcased event since the separate Telangana movement reached its peak in the Saseema region of Adilabad, which includes the 10 mandals in Adilabad revenue division.

It is the exigencies of those times that has infused many a change in the way the festival is celebrated today.

“The first to be lost were the earthy Boddemma songs sung by women every evening around the Boddemma bavi and Gadde,” pointed out a well-known Telugu writer B. Muralidhar, who has written about the festival in his recently released book Nirudu Kurisina Kala .

“This year saw even men dancing around the Boddemma cones and girls and women staging even the Gujarati Dandiya dance during the Saddula Boddemma procession,” he added, somewhat perplexed over the changes. Until a few years ago, women used to collect gunugu (celosia), banthi (marigold) and the ridge gourd and bitter gourd flowers, a day before the festival that ends with Saddula Boddemma usually observed on Navami before Dasara though in Adilabad it continues until Diwali. “Women in the family used to arrange these flowers at a leisurely pace on the day when they needed to take the cones for immersion,” the writer recalled.

The demand for Boddemma cones during the separate Telangana movement saw readymade cones being sold in the market and the trend has endured. “We make different sized cones and sell it for a price between Rs. 400 and Rs. 1,000,” revealed Sk. Ismail, a flower merchant.

Instead of flowers that traditionally went into the making of the Boddemma cones, the flower merchants are using chrysanthemum, marigold, rose and even gerberia flowers.

“The flowers are either made into a garland to be entwined around a banboo mat rolled as a cone or are glued to the mat,” Mr. Ismail added of the method.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 4:37:16 PM |

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