Garba is a form of folk dance which has its roots in Gujarat.
The name Garba is derived from Sanskrit word ‘Garbha’ which means ‘womb’ and ‘deep’ which means ‘lamp’ representing ‘life’. Garba usually takes place either around a lit lamp (garba deep) or an image or statue of Goddess Durga or Shakti.
When is it performed?
- Garba is usually done during Gujarati weddings, baby showers etc.
- Traditionally, Garba is performed on Navaratri which means nine nights in Gujarati.
- At times, special occasions at home are also graced by Garba.
- Gujarati Muslims perform Garba during Eid.
A bright colored Chanya or Ghagra Choli along with a Bandhani dupatta all decked with mirrors (Abla) and thick borders forms the Garba costume for girls and women. The Ghagra Choli is draped or worn in the traditional Gujarati way. Sparkling, colored bangles (kadas), heavy anklets (janjhars), designer waist belts (kandoro), jazzy earrings and bajubandh are the types of jewellery worn during this occasion. Whereas the boys and men wear Kafni Pyjamas with a short round colorful Kurta (kediyu) above the knees and a matching turban (pagadi) on the head with a bright Bandhini dupatta, kada and mojiris.
Garba is performed in a circular style which symbolizes the life cycle of birth, death and re-birth. The dancers form a circle and move in cycles in different rings. In the middle of the ring or circle a lamp or Goddess Durga or Shakti is placed. Basically, the dance relates to the never ending movement of Universe revolving around God.
Basically, there are two types of Garba. The first type involves clapping with dance. The dance gets faster with fast music known as Raas. The second uses sticks called Dandiya.
The various forms of this Gujarati folk are Dandiya Raas, Garbi, Heench, Taali and Dodhiyu. The style of dance varies with place and tradition.
A few texts describes that, during the age of Lord Krishna and Radha, they used to dance Garba to express their love for each other. Garba songs usually include topics of Lord Krishna or the nine goddesses. The modern Garba also includes non-devotional songs. The most popular one being, Sanedo.
Garba usually attracts the young crowd majorly from Gujarat and Rajasthan. Garba has gained popularity internationally, as its celebrated in UK, Canada and Toronto as well.