All of you are very well aware of the colourful festival called ‘Navratri.’ The word “Navaratri” is a conjunction of two words “nava” which means “nine” and “ratri” meaning “night.” Celebrated over 9 nights and 10 days, it is one of the most sacred festivals in Hinduism where everywhere people worship Goddess Durga or Shakti, which represents the energy of the universe in her nine beautiful forms with great reverence.
Devotees not only offer prayers in this joyous occasion but also celebrate the festival by posing traditional dresses, humming folk songs and dancing, the two most traditional forms of dance are Garba and Dandiya.
Garba and Dandiya are dance forms that derives its roots from Gujarat and was earlier performed there only. However, overtime it garnered so much popularity that now it is celebrated in every corner of the country due to its lively and colourful dance to grace the occasion of Navratri.
Garba is usually performed before worshipping Goddess Durga and Dandiya is played during the late evenings, after completing all the religious rituals (Aarti) as a part of the merriment.
These dance forms are most importantly performed in groups and special large-scale events that are organised where hundreds of people come together for the celebrations.
Besides bearing the festive mood, the reason why these dance forms emerged or played especially during Navratri is that:
Garba and Dandiya are, essentially, the dramatization of the fight between the Goddess and Mahishasur – the mighty demon king. Whereas, the sticks of the Dandiya dance represents the sword of Goddess Durga. Which is the reason why this dance form is also known as ‘The Sword Dance’
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One more equally major viewpoint of Garba is the circular movement of the dancers during Garba. This represents the circle of life, moving from life to death to rebirth leaving only the Goddess Durga unmoved, unchanging and invincible.
If you are keen dance observers then you will agree that modern day dance is actually a fusion of Dandiya Raas and Garba. The mix of two has become very popular amongst the young generation, all over the world.
You will not believe but it is a fact that this particular dance form is not just stipulated or limited its reach within our country but is equally famous across the globe like in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada and Toronto. Where people from most countries across the globe like to dance to the lively and peppy beats.
Garba dance in a ring form with circular movements has a close resemblance to the Sufi dancers, who too move in a spiral.