Jeddah: The Bathukamma and Dasara festivals mark much gaiety not only at home in India but also abroad. In fact, Bathukamma became an expatriate community affair every year in the Gulf region.
Bathukamma, which is considered a symbol of Telangana’s cultural identity and coincides with Navratri celebrations for Telanganities across the world, is much subdued affair as they can’t come together to celebrate due to social distancing norms and safety precautions and the volatile job market.
Things are different this year. The pandemic might have changed the very nature of Dasara and Bathukamma celebrations, but it has not lowered the spirit of people especially those living abroad. This year’s religious celebrations may have been muted, but that does not mean they have been non-existent. The digital apps such as Zoom and Facebook have enabled them to mark them as communities as the floral festival becomes a global event.
Adhering to local rules on gatherings, Telugu families gathered in small groups within allowed parameters and interacted with their compatriots through online apps. “We used to celebrate the festival in public with much fanfare till last year but this year we had to cancel the gathering in public but are making use of online resources”, said Revuri Sarita Reddy who lives in Dubai.
Sarita Reddy from Dubai is in forefront of celebrating Global Bathukamma where she was joined by scores of NRI organisations across the globe. She opined that the festive spirit would have had a greater impact if there was no pandemic. “This year we are not celebrating Bathukamma in public forum due to covid-19 restrictions and safety reasons, yet we are celebrating at home”, said Muscat based Panniru Uma Devi of Jagtial district.
“The pandemic has caused many to lose their jobs, many families returned home permanently that has impacted the celebrations this year”, Uma Devi added. In Bahrain, Bathukamma was celebrated in five different locations and each location was connected through an online video platform. “The scene was different but the spirit was not less”, commented Ch. Sirlatha, native of Khammam who lives in Bahrain.
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