From Gujarat to other parts of India, Garba has become a dance tradition beloved for its vibrancy during festivals.
This joyous dance brings people together in places large and small, from temples to homes across the country. Dancers sing and clap with rhythmic steps representing the circle of life as they move gracefully across the open sky or under lit lanterns. The garba is danced to the accompaniment of traditional instruments such as dorak drums or clapping handsGujaratHas spread the passionate movement side by side to all parts of the country - creating an unforgettable experience wherever it goes!
Garba is a genre of Indian folk dance that originated inGujarat, India, is held every October in honor of Goddess Durga, the Hindu goddess of divinity. The popular folk dance is performed during Navratri, a 9-day Hindu festival celebrating the worship of Goddess Durga. While Garba is often associated with Navaratri celebrations, in Gujarat it is a sacred custom to perform this joyful folk dance on almost every important occasion.
It is worth noting that Garbah, a traditional Indian folk dance form, has been nominated by India for inclusion in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
The Origin of Traditional Garba Dance
The name "Garba" comes from the Sanskrit word "womb" or "depth", which has profound metaphorical connotations. This traditional dance originated fromGujaratOriginally held in Vadodara, now known asGujaratCultural capital due to its strong influence on religion. According to the dialect, Garba is also known as Garbha, Garbha Deep and Garbhi. This dance is often performed as a tribute to women and in honor of their fertility.
The dance originated in the 8th century AD and gradually spread to other parts of India, including the states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The dance form involves two rows of dancers facing each other, clapping and moving in synchronized steps, forming complex patterns. The steps of the Garba dance form are based on circular patterns and include circles around a clay lamp or statue of Goddess Durga.
Garba is performed in front of lanterns, which symbolize the soul contained in the human body. Garba celebrates the infinite nature of life, death, and rebirth by having dancers rotate in concentric rings, much like Hinduism views time as a cycle. While the rest of the universe changes and evolves, Goddess Durga and her power in the spirit of the dancer remain the same.
As a representation of the Hindu view of time, Garba is danced in a circle. Time is continuous in Hinduism, so the rings of the performers rotate in turn. The Goddess, the immovable symbol of all this continuous, infinite activity, is the only thing that remains constant through the cycle of time, from birth to life to death to rebirth. The dance represents God, in this case depicted as a female figure, the only constant in an ever-changing universe.
Garba dancers are usually women and girls, although boys and men also participate in some of these dances. While performing Garba, men and women sing traditional devotional songs that tell stories from Hindu mythology. It is believed that performing Garba will bring good luck and prosperity to the family performing it.
NavratriIt is a Hindu celebration which means "nine nights" in English. As the festival is celebrated in different ways across India, the state of Gujarat follows the traditional custom of dancing the Garba dance for nine nights in honor of the goddess.
The dance starts late at night and continues until midnight. During the nine days and nights of Navratri, men and women follow specific meals and eat limited meals according to their religious beliefs. Garba is also made during Holi, Chinese New Year, weddings, celebrations and social events as well as Navratri.
importance to culture
Garbha dance has great cultural value. Its true strength and popularity are highlighted in the costumes, slogans and crowds. Clothes are usually bright red, orange, yellow or bright shades with a mirror effect, which is one of the most outstanding embroidery in the state.
When playing garba and tandia, both men and women are often dressed in colorful attire. A Chaniya choli is a three-piece outfit consisting of a chaniya, a colorfully embellished top, a stretchy skirt-like bottom with fine embroidery, and a dupatta, often worn in Gujarati style.
Beads, shells, mirrors, stars, embroidery work, matti and other decorations can be seen at Chaniya Cholis. Jhumkas (big earrings), necklaces, bindis, bajubandh, chudas and kangans, kamarbandh, payal and mojiris are common jewelry worn by women.
Boys and men wear kafni pajamas with a Ghagra (a small round kurta) on the knees, a pagoda on the head, dupatta bandhini, kada and mojiris.
This type of men's clothing is called "Kediyu" in Gujarati. Garba's popularity has only grown over time. Garba has aroused great interest among young Indians, especially the Gujarati diaspora. This dance is usually performed in concentric circles, with the whole community in unison, with a tempo that starts slow and gradually picks up speed.
traditional dance elements
The songs are predominantly in Gujarati and although there are many modern elements, it is impossible not to connect Garba to its rich heritage. Due to Western influences such as remixing and Bollywood elements, as well as international mainstream appeals, the core ideas and performances of traditional dance styles have not changed significantly.
Dhol, drums and the oboe organ or shehnai are Indian rhythm instruments considered lucky for the event and played by professional performers. Tambourines, synthesizers, organs, and soundboards were common instruments in the early 21st century, thanks to modernity.
Traditional Garba dance events incorporate many Gujarati dance techniques into styles of bouncing, clapping and twirling. The two dance styles are taali Garba and tran taali Garba, which means 2-beat Garba and 3-beat Garba in Gujarati respectively. Garba is always performed barefoot and artists perform on a variety of surfaces. Hindus believe this connects you to the Goddess and Mother Earth.
Garba today is often mixed with Dandiya Raas, another Gujarati folk dance. The biggest difference between Garba and Dandiya Raas is that Dandiya Raas involves dancing with sticks in both hands. Many current Garba dances are also influenced by Dandiya Raas, and the line between the two folk dances is sometimes blurred to produce a fusion that encompasses both dance genres.
The costumes as well as the melody and energy of the dance remain the same. Thanks to film and media, this ancient dance has been modernized into the beautiful combination it is today. The dance starts off slow, but as the music progresses, so does the dance, getting faster and more melodious.
Garba and Dandiya Celebrations in Other Countries
Garba has grown in popularity in the West in recent years for its catchy music and colorful costumes. This dance has also been featured in films such as "Monsoon Wedding" and "Hum Saath Saath Hain". Today, Garba remains a popular form of holiday entertainment, performed in many parts of the world, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
Garba has also become a popular community event in the United States and Canada due to the large number of Gujarati emigration in these countries. Every year, more than 20 institutions across the United States hold large-scale Garba dance competitions.
Toronto, Canada currently has the largest annual concert hall in North America in terms of attendance. Garba is also popular in the UK, where several Gujarati communities have their own Garba nights, which is also common among Gujarati people around the world.
The most valuable aspect of Garba is its fun value. It is one of the most popular dance genres in India due to the social interaction as well as the high intensity and great excitement.
No matter where you are when a Garba show starts, it's hard not to get caught up in the whirlwind of anger and movement. It's also hard not to find yourself tapping your feet and bobbing to the beat of a language or music you may never fully understand.