Jajiri, another festival for unity

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Jajiri
Children play Jajiri, a prelude to the Holi festival at Munjampally village

Warangal Urban: As the sun sets and night starts permeating, a group of children holding Kolalu (sticks made of bamboo) sets out to visit the houses in their locality at the village. Striking the sticks rhythmically they sing songs and dance.

Though they collect donations in cash or grain, it is more of a traditional act of celebrating an event with joy and merriment. On the other hand, men and women folks also form troupes and go to one house after the other. While men use dappu, the women folk either use the sticks or clap their hands like they used to during Bathukamma. This is known as Jajiri or Kamuni Panduga, which is celebrated for nine-days as a prelude to the Holi festival. Though it is not as popular as Bathukamma, it is also a unique festival of Telangana.

Jajiri is a combination of traditional songs and dances and it is mainly celebrated by the backward communities in the rural areas. Though many traditional art forms are under threat of extinction due to various reasons, people, particularly children are seen playing Jajiri in the rural areas of Telnagana, keeping the tradition alive.

B Harikrishna, a standard VIII student said that he had learnt songs of Jajiri from his grandparents. “I have been playing Jajiri since standard II. We form a team during every Holi season and cover every house at the village,” he added. This sort of activity not only helps in learning and sharing bonds with others, but also the importance of team work.

Jajiri is seen as a reflection of Telangana culture. Like Bathukamma, it also helps the people come together. Both the festivals are symbols of unity,” said Dr Srimanthula Damodar, who is a project assistant with School of Folk and Tribal lore of Potti Sriramulu Telugu University (PSTU).
Saying that the festivals like ‘Bathukamma’ and ‘Jajiri’ help to keep the richness of the language of the particular area. “We can find wonderful idiomatic expressions, proverbs and anecdotes in these songs,” he adds.

Assistant Professor and Head of Department of Folklore, Gaddam Venkanna, says that keeping traditions alive would help establish an identity to an individual and also a group.

“Following traditions help to create a bond between the individuals with the family, and place of origin. Keeping traditions alive helps to maintain a sense of connection to the past,” Venkanna adds.

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