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Garba is a community concentric circle dance from the northwestern part of Indian state, Gujarat. The word “Garba” is also used to refer to the event at which the Garba is performed. The dance form originated in the villages of Gujarat, where it was (and continues to be) performed in communal gathering spaces in the center of the village with the whole community as part of this dance performance. As with many social events that happen in rural areas of Gujarat, Garba also has religious significance.
What Is Garba?
Garba is a traditional Indian folk dance native to the west Indian state of Gujarat, usually performed in the month of October to honour the Hindu Deity of Divinity, Goddess Durga. Though it is a main event of Navaratri celebrations, this joyful folk dance is performed as sacred tradition on almost every special occasion in Gujarat. Even though men participate in some of these dances, this form of dance are mainly performed by womens and young girls.
History Behind Garba
Garba originated from the Sanskrit word Garbha meaning the womb. Customarily, this dance form in Gujarat marks a girl’s first menstrual cycle and later, her imminent marriage. It is also performed during the nine-day Navratri festival which is held annually during the month of Ashwin (September or October). On some occasions, men also participate but women are the main performers of Garba. During Garba, the performers circle around an image of the mother goddess Durga, an illuminated clay pot or water-filled vessel. The dance slowly begins and moderately increases in speed.
The legend related to this dance dates back to the time when the buffalo headed king of demons Mahishasura (a brahma worshipper) was creating havoc in the world. He was given a boon by the lord that no woman would ever be able to kill him. The gods were able to defeat him when he had attacked the Trilok and even the Indralok with his army. The gods went to Lord Vishnu for his help. Finally after much discussion and anticipation all the 3 holy trinity of lords, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh combined their powers to create goddess Durga (an incarnation of Parvati). After 9 days of continuously battling the demon head on goddess Durga stabbed the demon king and ended his atrocities hence saving the world from complete destruction. Garba is a dance done to thank the goddess for her persistence and hard work in bringing peace to the world.
Why Is Garba Famous In Gujarat?
Garba dances celebrate fertility, honour womanhood, and pay respect to any of an array of mother goddesses. In Gujarat the dances customarily mark a girl’s first menstrual cycle and, later, her imminent marriage. Garba empowers people by preaching the presence of divine energy within every human being. Hundreds of people come together to one place and perform in groups with stunning pomp and ceremony.
Significance Of Garba In Hinduism
- The dance form of Garba celebrates fertility, honour womanhood, and pays respect to all nine forms of mother goddesses.
- The performance of Garba has spread beyond Gujarat to enjoy popularity not only in various parts of India but in Hindu communities across the world.
- The performances of Garba also include singing and musical accompaniment traditionally provided by dhol and similar but smaller dholak, hand-clapping, and assorted metallic idiophones, like cymbals.
- In this typical from of dance ,dancers are arranged in a concentric circles and is performed around a lantern, a vessel which represents the human body carrying the soul within.
- Garba showcases the infinite nature of birth, death and rejuvenation.
- Goddess Durga and her power within the souls of the dancers is eternal, while the entire universe evolves and changes.
Traditional Costumes Of Garba
It is equally important to dress up beautifully as performing the dance as a main focus. Garba introduces India’s most exquisite ethnic wear collections. The traditional costume for males is kediyu which consists of a kafni pajama, a round kurta and a turban embellished with sequins for the head. The traditional costume for womens is chaniya choli which is a three-piece dress with an intricately embroidered blouse with beads, tiny mirrors and shells, and a flared, long skirt with similar decoration. The dupatta or chuniya is an ornate piece of cloth draped around the head and chest by women. While the young girls can be seen wearing Ghagra choli. Both men and women adorn themselves with heavy silver-plated jewellery, sparkling waist belts, maang tika, chunky metal bracelets and jhumkas or hanging earrings. Bold eyeliner or kajal and bindis are equally important parts of the Garba look.
Music in Garba Dance
Gujarat introduces you to an array of upbeat music styles belonging to both urban and rural cultures. Dandiya sticks, commonly made from wood can be found in pairs in the hands of all dancers, who wave the dandiya to choreography and create a rhythmic temp. Professional artists play the dhol, drum and double-reed organs or shehnai, which are all Indian percussion instruments considered to be auspicious for the event. With modernization in the early 21st century, bongos, synthesizers, harmoniums and octapads are also easy to spot.
- The modern day Garba is actually a combination of Garba and Dandiya Raas. T
- The movies and the media industry has modernised this traditional dance into a beautiful amalgamation which is performed today.
- The dance starts in a slow tempo and as the music proceeds it picks up pace and along with it the dance also starts getting quicker and more fun.
- In a previous and a earlier form of Garba dance as a tradition the people used to place a vessel in the center and a lamp on top of their heads and move in circles chanting the name of the goddess.
- Before the Garba dance starts the rituals and aarti takes place and the whole war between Mahishasura and Durga Mata are presented dramatically.
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