Garba, also spelled as garaba, is a dance form originated in the state of Gujarat. This type of Indian dance is mainly performed on all the special occasions in the state especially during Navratri, Basant Panchmi, Holi and Sharad Purnima. It is a lively and a joyful style of dance, based on a circular pattern and characterized by a sweeping action from side to side. Garba is generally performed in a circle around the statue of Goddess Shakti. Often Garba is confused with Dandiya, which is another dance form performed during Navratri. The difference between them is that Dandiya is played with colorful and vibrant sticks whereas Garba is performed in circular movements with feet and hands. Musical instruments usually used in the traditional Garba dance are naal, drum and harmonium.
Navratri Garba is the most colorful form of dance form as the performers are both men and women, who would clad themselves in lively and attractive traditional attire. People prefer wearing dresses of same color and pattern in order to spread the message of unity. Women prefer the traditional Chaniya Choli- a three piece outfit including a blouse/choli, a long flared skirt known as chaniya and a dupatta. Chaniya Choli is characterized by their lively colors and mirror work or beautiful embroidery done on them. The entire costume is teamed up with black and silver metal necklace, jhumkas, bajuband, juttis, maang tikka and kamarband. Designer sarees and lehenga are also worn by the women these days, especially in metropolitan cities. Men wear a Kediyu i.e a short round kurta with a Kafni pajama, a pagri on their head, and Nagras or Mojri.
The word Garba is derived from the Sanskrit word for womb and so denotes pregnancy or gestation period. The dance is performed around a clay lamp known as garbha deep with a light inside. This lantern signifies life; particularly the fetus in the womb. Thus, the feminine form of divinity, Goddess Durga is honored by the dancers.
Garba dance steps
The Garba dance form involves clapping and singing while going around the goddess Durga. It mainly has fluid movements with bodies gracefully bending sideways with arms coming together in beautiful sweeping gestures in various directions. Almost all the movement ends in a clap. The dance is performed in many different styles and steps in various regions of Gujarat. Nowadays, the Garba dance is divided into two types viz traditional and modern. Various types of Raas garba are Beda raas, Talwar raas, diva clay lamp raas and many more.
Reasons why Gujaratis love Garba
- The preparation starts one month before Navratri. It seems to be festival of 1 month instead of 9 days. Gujaratis don’t need any drink, Garba can get them high!
- The wonderful traditional music known as Garbo truly reflects the culture of Gujarat. Garbo are the songs on which Gujaratis perform Garba. They love these songs so much that they even sing while dancing to the tunes of their favorite Garbo.
- Navratri is one of the best festivals which they love and enjoy to celebrate with their family and friends. Celebrations are relished by dancing together to the tunes of the traditional songs.
- Garba dance is enjoyed by all kind of people. Apart from Gujaratis, even non Gujaratis love to do this dance form. If you visit Gujarat during Navratri, you will find that people from various cultures and the foreigners residing there enjoy doing Garba and celebrate the festival to the fullest.
- The extremely gracious attire make this dance form more graceful. Women dressed in chaniya choli and men in kediya look gorgeous. Some of the people go to play Garba just because they love to dress up!
- Garba is easy to learn and perform. You just need to observe the person performing Garba and you can dance easily and nicely. People of all age group can effortlessly learn and perform. If by any chance you don’t know how to do it, your Gujarati friend can teach you in a single day.
So, what are you waiting for? Learn and enjoy Garba dance this year during Navratri.