About Garba Festival
Garba is a popular dance form of Gujarat, a state in India. It originated in Gujarat and is performed primarily during the festival of Navratri. The dance owes some similarity to the Sufi culture and is traditionally performed with lamps in front of a statue of Goddess Durga. The traditional dance included performance beside a clay lamp which was lighted from inside. The dance is a form of offering to the Goddess Durga. Read below for getting an insight into this colourful dance form that is usually performed during Navratri.
Dance Form and Style
Garba is performed in circles and the dancer pays homage to the concept of time and the cycles of birth, death and rebirth as per the traditional Hindu belief in the continuity of soul. Lately, Garba has had a lot of influence from Raas, another dance form which is primarily performed by men. Garba dance is traditionally performed during Navratri, a nine day festival which celebrates the Goddess Durga and signifies the victory of good over evil. The dance is said to have originated as a commemoration of the fight between the Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasur. Originally swords were used which have given way to sticks that represent swords. The foot tapping music along with swirling styles make for a lively performance. The dance style has become very popular all over India and is widely celebrated by all.
The dance involves clapping and feet tapping along with swirling movements in circles. Usually celebrated at night, the dancers keep dancing well into the night. The rhythm of the dance is maintained by a large drummer who is usually seated in the centre. The dance form is fluid with graceful movements and hand and feet coordination is important. Training is usually provided by many dance schools but traditionally, the dancers were largely home schooled in the tradition.
Men and women dancers dress in colourful costumes for performing the Garba. Chaniya Choli and Ghagra is the traditional dress opted by women while men wear pajamas and a ghagra that enhances the body movements when swirling. A head gear called pagdi is also used by men. Various adornments are used during the dance and females usually accessorize their clothing with bangles, anklets and lots of embroidery. Necklaces and waist accessories are also frequently used by women. The colours used are strong and red, pink along with mixes of bright orange are used liberally. Mirrors and other decorative artwork are also frequently found on the costumes. Usually dresses follow a set design or similar patterns to signify the oneness of all human beings. Nowadays, decorated sarees are also frequently used by women.
Garba is basically a folk dance but has expanded greatly in popularity. It has penetrated to almost every state of India and large scale celebrations are organised by major corporations and event organisers. It is not uncommon to find Garba performances in other countries such as USA where competitions are also arranged in universities.