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Indian Festival Navratri: The 9 Nights of Festivities, Music and Dance Extravaganza

Chitrangada loves the richness of Indian art, culture and traditions. As a writer, she wants to spread information about Indian culture.

The Navratri Festival of India

The Navratri Festival of India

Navratri dance and music festival

Navratri dance and music festival

What Is Navratri Festival?

Navratri ( 'Nav' means 'Nine' and "Ratri' means 'nights'), is a religious festival celebrated throughout the length and breath of India.

The festival lasts for ten days and the whole atmosphere is charged with positive thoughts, devotion, meditation, worship, folk music and folk dance, delicious food, enthusiasm and celebrations.

India is a country with lot of diversity. Therefore, the method of celebration varies from one state to another, from one region to another. But the soul and the spirit remains the same.

Although, there are five Navratri festivals in a year; usually happening when the seasons change, but it is the Sharad Navratri which is the most important of all. This Navratri is also referred to as the 'Maha Navratra.' 'Maha' means 'great' and 'Nav' means 'nine' and 'Ratri' means 'nights.'

This usually falls in the month of September-October, and coincides with the beginning of the winter season.

Navratri celebrations with devotional dance

Navratri celebrations with devotional dance

Earthen decorated pots

Earthen decorated pots

What is the Dandiya Raas or Garba

An elaborate explanation of the Indian festival of Navratri can not be done in a single article. There are different ways of celebrating this colourful and wonderful festival in Northern India, Western India, Eastern India or Southern India.

But one thing is common—It is celebrated to worship, The Goddess Durga, the symbol of power, strength( mental and emotional) and prosperity.

Here, I am focusing on one aspect of the celebration--the 'Dandiya' or 'Garba' folk music and dance festival, which has it’s roots in Gujarat state of India.

Although it is a folk dance, which originates from Gujarat, it is popular all over India, and even some parts of the world.

It is also called the 'stick dance.'

The 'Garba' or 'Dandiya' dancers dance by matching their steps, by moving around in a circle.

They make graceful dance movements, by clapping their own hand, or with their partners, in a musical rhythm.

They also do the same, with decorated and colorful sticks.

In the center of the circle, an earthen lamp is lighted and placed. This symbolizes the eternal light of the Goddess Shakti or power/ positive energy.

Devotional folk songs are constantly sung by musicians, and artists from a well decorated stage, and the dancers match steps, according to the rhythm of the songs.

The folk songs are in praise of the Goddess. Sometimes, it is a slow song, and at other times, it is full of beats, with the drums, and other classical or modern musical instruments.

The visual effect is just magical, for the participants, as well as the onlookers.

The World famous dance moves of Garba Raas

The World famous dance moves of Garba Raas

Colourful Dandiya Sticks

Colourful Dandiya Sticks

Colorful And Beautiful Costumes Of Garba And Dandiya

One of the most important and significant part of Dandiya raas, and Garba dance form is its colourful and traditional costumes, and the traditional jewelry.

The costumes are in bright colours, of red, yellow, orange, pink, blue, green etc., whether it is meant for male or female.

They are made with mirror work dress materials, embroidered cloth materials, tie and dye, or batik print dress materials, applique art, and numerous other traditional art on clothes.

Head covers, or Chunri for girls, or Pagdi, or turbans for men is also worn in very bright colours.

The women costumes are generally called Ghagra, choli and chunri and the costume for men is pagdi, kedias, or achkan.

The 'Dandiya' sticks are used as prop in this skilled dance form, and is available in matching colours of the costume.

Dandiya raas is a social dance activity, and many people dance together in circles. It needs a lot of coordination, and training.

Usually, there are two large circles, one moving in clockwise direction, while the other in anti clockwise direction.

The large group of dancers, moving with the rhythm of music, and songs looks elegant, and is a visual delight.

The whole sequence of music, and dance goes all through the night, up till early morning.

Usually it starts from ten o'clock in the night, after an 'Arti' that is worshiping of the Goddess, and then follows the dance and music extravaganza.

Dandiya and Garba is a community music and dance festival

Dandiya and Garba is a community music and dance festival

The Mesmerizing Effect

The music and dance festival of Navratri is a lively, colorful, and a fast paced folk dance form. People make preparations in advance, for the nine nights festival.

The dancers usually arrange for nine set of costumes, with matching jewelry etc. for this great celebration.

No one wants to miss out, even a single detail, when costume, or make up is concerned. They want to look their best. And they look beautiful, and traditional, just out of this World.

Anyone, who is present at the venue is mesmerized, with the enthusiastic atmosphere, and is sure to join in the celebrations.

Garba raas dance

Garba raas dance

How important are festivals in our lives?

Festivals are an important part of our lives, and festivals are celebrated all over the world, in their own different ways.

  1. Besides the religious aspect, there is a social aspect attached to the celebration of festivals.
  2. You get the opportunity to meet the family and friends and enjoy together.
  3. You laugh, eat, sing and dance and all that contributes, in relieving you from stress and tensions, if any.
  4. You don't even realize, how much positive energy flows, when people are sharing happy, and enjoyable times together.
  5. It is the perfect way to rejuvenate, and recharge your energy levels, which becomes somewhat monotonous, with the usual day today routine life.

Let us be a part of the magic and the extravaganza!

Chitrangada Sharan

Dandiya Dance, source: You tube

Garba song and dance, source: You tube

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Chitrangada Sharan

Have you ever seen the 'Dandiya' dance performance? Please share in comments section.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 30, 2019:

Thank you Thelma, for your appreciation of the article and the festival. Navratri festivities are going on these days in India. The whole atmosphere is positively charged with devotion, music, dance and happiness.

Thank you for commenting.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 30, 2019:

This is a very interesting festival. Beautiful and colorful feast. Thanks for sharing.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 03, 2019:

Thank you Shaloo, for your positive comments. Glad you liked the article.

Shaloo Walia from India on September 03, 2019:

Quite informative...and the pics are beautiful!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 16, 2018:

Thank You Manatita, for your kind words of appreciation!

Yes, the atmosphere all around here, is filled with devotion and celebrations, in the honour of Goddess Durga. Today is the 7th day of worship.

Thank You so much for appreciating!

manatita44 from london on October 16, 2018:

Beautiful symmetry, movement ... choreography.

The costumes are outstanding and as so many Indian dances, requires much effort, I'm sure.

India has always been outstanding in this department.

A colourful and well written Hub. Om Shanti!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 15, 2018:

Thanks beta @Aditya, for appreciating!

Aditya on October 15, 2018:

Nicely written and it truly brings out the festive grandeur which is visible during Navratras

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 05, 2017:

Thanks Mary Norton for your kind visit and positive thoughts! You are right about the purpose of celebrating festivals. They indeed fill us with hope, faith and happiness.

Many thanks and a good day to you!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 05, 2017:

Such colours and excitement indeed. Festivals often take us out of ourselves and enables us to enjoy.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 28, 2016:

Thank you colourful one for your kind visit and comments!

Appreciate your interest in this colourful festival of India. Yes it is very exciting and enjoyable. Festivals are in fact a great way to get together with family and friends with lot of positivity around.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on October 28, 2016:

The festivals must be exciting to attend and especially take part in all dressed up in a gorgeous costume. I would love to experience it!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 22, 2016:

Thank you Peg Cole for stopping by and your valuable comments!

I am pleased to know that you liked the information about some traditions of my country. Great to hear from you. Much appreciated!

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 21, 2016:

How wonderfully colorful and festive! Thanks for sharing a part of the traditions and celebrations of this festival. I enjoyed learning some new things.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 03, 2016:

Thanks Dianna for revisiting this article! This is the third day of Navratri and the enthusiasm is multiplying day by day. Yes the costumes are colourful and bright to suit the mood of the festival.

Many thanks for your positive comments!

Dianna Mendez on October 03, 2016:

Just stopping by to refresh my knowledge of this festival. The costumes are so beautiful.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 19, 2016:

Thanks Jai Desai for reading and commenting on this hub!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 07, 2016:

Thanks for the information Adarsh Sule!

adarsh sule on June 06, 2016:

eco friendly navratri decoration are too good at utsavi.net

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 27, 2015:

Thank you manatita, for revisiting this hub!

I am pleased to learn about your interest in this festival, especially due to the spiritual quotient it carries.

Navratri festival is all about renewed positive thoughts and energy and the most appropriate rejuvenation of the being.

Thank you for your beautiful comments!

manatita44 from london on October 26, 2015:

Pleased to be here again, Chitrangada.

One of our Meditation Centre Leaders really love these celebrations, and so he made a most beautiful Shrine at our Centre in praise of Navratri. We had a very special Meditation, and some truly devotional songs. We had an extended Meditation with extra silence and singing and food and walking Meditation ...the full works.

I believe I might have given details to someone else here. Probably Surabhi. It was so sublime! I was in Highest Heaven! Thank you once again, for highlighting these special events.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 26, 2015:

Thank you Sandyspider, for your kind visit and appreciation of the hub!

Navratri festival is all about devotion, fun, dance, music and lot of happiness and positivity. I hope you see it once in India. Indians living abroad also celebrate it there itself.

Thank you for your comments!

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on October 25, 2015:

I would love to see the festival. The costumes are so beautiful as with the dances.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 06, 2015:

Thank you thumbi7, for reading, appreciating and sharing!

Glad you liked it!

JR Krishna from India on August 05, 2015:

Very colourful and joyful hub; just like Navraatri

Thanks for sharing

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 15, 2014:

Thank you Writer Fox, for your kind visit and comments! Much appreciated.

Glad you liked this hub. India is indeed a colorful country and loves to celebrate.

Thanks!

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on October 14, 2014:

I very much enjoyed the beautiful pictures of the costumes the dancers wear for this festival. India is such a colorful country. I hope you have a happy holiday. Voted up!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 01, 2014:

Thank you aviannovice, for reading and commenting!

I agree with you that we should unite on serious issues. Of course many conventions do take place to address such issues, as you have mentioned. A lot of work is being done also by the Government, different organisations and by people. But a lot remains to be done.

Festivals are also important, because they bring people closer and make them happy, which is very much essential for emotional health. Festivals generate lot of positive energy, necessary to keep us going.

Thanks for sharing your views and sharing the hub!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on September 30, 2014:

I love this and will be sharing it on my page. Festivals simply for the sake of beauty well wishes, and good times go beyond everything. We as peoples all over the world need to unite on serious issues like climate change, the environment in general, the freedom of peoples as a whole, the protection of animals, and so much more. When we can achieve all of these things, is when we will have world peace.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 28, 2014:

Thank you Nell Rose, for your kind visit and appreciation!

I am glad you liked the hub and the video. Thanks for your support!

Nell Rose from England on September 26, 2014:

That looks like great fun chitrangada! so much color and the dancing in the video was amazing! I would love to be there to join in!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 26, 2014:

Thank you Jodah, for your kind visit and appreciation!

Yes, its a colorful and beautiful festival. And it lasts for 10 days, but the dances are for nine nights.

Thanks again!

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on September 26, 2014:

Great hub and very interesting. This festival is so colourful with beautiful costumes. I am sure it is a joyous 9 or 10 days. Thanks for sharing.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thanks Nithya, for your kind visit and positive comments!

Yes, the festival of Navratri has begun and the atmosphere is fully charged with devotion, enthusiasm and celebrations.

Have an enjoyable and prosperous Navratri! Thanks for the votes!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thanks chef-de-jour, for your kind visit and positive feedback!

Yes, the colorful costumes are mostly , hand printed and even the embroidery is done by hand. The artisans and weavers usually make use of sea shells, small cut glasses, colorful beads etc. to prepare the dress materials. Tie and dye art , Batik art or Bandhani art is used to make head covers for men and women.

There are small scale industries in India, which are very active in villages and provide encouragement and employment to the villagers.

It is amazing how people are so much energetic throughout the night and that too when most of them observe fast for 9 days. I think that is the power of the 'Supreme.'

Many thanks for your interest in this festival!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thank you AudreyHowitt, for your kind visit and appreciation!

Glad you liked the hub!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thanks manatita44, for coming back!

Your narration of celebrations at your place, sounds so blissful.

Thanks for sharing the spiritual event here.

May God bless you! Thanks!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 25, 2014:

Navratri is an amazing celebration that I enjoy every year. It is really amazing to be a part of the celebration and you have brought it alive so well through your hub. Voted up.

Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on September 25, 2014:

Thank you, a hub full of colour and tradition, wonderful. It always amazes me how vivid and detailed some of these costumes are, how much time must be spent creating them. Are the dyes still natural these days? It would be nice to think so.

I can just imagine everyone gathering, village to village, anticipating the dances, feasts and togetherness. Dancing through the night you say? Wow, after 9 nights seems like sleep is high on the agenda I think!!

Audrey Howitt from California on September 25, 2014:

Fascinating and beautiful!

manatita44 on September 25, 2014:

Last night we celebrated at my spiritual Centre. We had a most beautiful shrine dedicated to the Goddess Durga and also read from Sri Chinmoy's writings. There was an half hour of silent meditation followed by a video, more readings and about 15 songs, then we had lots of Prasad. A truly inspiring time and a most excellent shrine dedicated to Durga plus ...

Om Shanti!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thank you Rajanji, for your kind visit and appreciation!

It means a lot to me, coming from a celebrated hubber like you.

You are right, that related hubs section is a very useful feature.

Thanks and Shubh Navratri!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 25, 2014:

This is an excellent hub on Navratri and especially on the detailing of the Garba dance form and other aspects related to this.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

I see my hub too listed here in the related hubs section as yours was in the list on my hub. This is a very useful feature.

Wish you a very happy Navratri Chitrangda.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thank you Suzanne Day, for your kind visit and appreciation!

Navratri is a major festival, celebrated throughout India. Deepavali follows 20 days after Navratri is over.

Many thanks for your votes and support!

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on September 25, 2014:

Haven't heard of the Navratri Festival before, though I do know of Deepavali, after my travels in Malaysia. What an enchanting festival! Can't wait to attend one. Voted beautiful ;)

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thank you teaches12345, for your kind visit and appreciation!

Yes, it is a ten day festival, celebrated throughout India. As there is a lot of diversity in India, different states celebrate it in different ways, but the soul and spirit remains the same. To sing praises of the 'supreme' power, to seek strength and pay respect by thanking the 'God.'

Festivals bring people closer to 'God' and to each other, as we all are 'his' creations. And this interaction is bound to spread positive thoughts all around.

Many thanks for your continued support!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thank you MarleneB, for your kind visit and positive comments!

I am so happy to read your views about Indian culture and traditions. Thanks!

Festivals bring people closer to each other. That is the most important purpose of celebrating. This is the best possible way to recharge and rejuvenate. With so many happy faces all round, there is no scope of negative thoughts or emotions.

Many thanks for appreciating the hub!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thank you manatita44, for your kind visit and appreciative comments!

Here in India, Navratri folk dance and songs are purely devotional. In fact the whole event begins by paying respect to the Goddess 'Shakti' , which symbolizes energy and strength. And by that I mean inner, mental strength. The song and dance starts after 'Arti' and every dancer or singer is spiritually inclined.

Can you imagine that most of the participants are on fast for nine continuous days and still they are awake, singing and dancing for the entire day and night to praise the all powerful, almighty God.

But you are right, there are some Bollywood elements as well. You know how much cinema influences society, isn't it!

Festivals bring us closer to God and to each other as human beings and that is the best part of celebrations--celebrating humanity.

Many thanks for your wonderful comments!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 25, 2014:

Thanks Michelle, for your kind visit and positive comments!

I feel so good to learn that you love the rich Indian culture and tradition Thanks for sharing the hub!

Dianna Mendez on September 24, 2014:

I enjoy reading about other cultural traditions. This ones sounds as if it is quite popular and provides people with the best of entertainment and enjoyment. Thank you for sharing this with readers.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on September 24, 2014:

The Indian culture is so rich and full of life. Not only do you celebrate, but you celebrate for days. I can see why the positive energy flows so well. The music and dances are all so delightful and the colors of the costumes are so vibrant. It's all really beautiful.

manatita44 from london on September 24, 2014:

Thank You, Chitrangada.

Timely Hub. The festive spirit is usually excellent and they do celebrate in the UK as well. I like the devotional dances. Some dances are very colourful and full of pageantry, almost Bollywood. Super excellent, yes, but not necessarily good for devotees. The devotional ones tend to have less of the mundane fire and point to the Divine.

Still, festivals are excellent, in so far, like summer, they really lift people's mood.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on September 24, 2014:

This is why I love Indian culture. It is chock full of rich tradition! I am sharing!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 23, 2014:

Thank you Sunilji, for your kind visit and comments!

Thanks for pointing out regarding the meaning of 'Nav' in my opening line. It was a slip, as in the subsequent paragraphs, I had written nine only.

I have seen and enjoyed this festival in Southern part of India as well. Each state celebrates it in a grand way.

I have lived in Gujarat for a long time and thus I focused this hub on Garba/Dandiya for HP readers.

It is too grand a festival to be described in a single hub, therefore I tried to introduce only this aspect.

Thanks for your support and my special thanks to your wife.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 23, 2014:

Thank you peachpurple, for your kind visit and positive comments!

Glad you liked the hub!

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on September 23, 2014:

You have come with this hub at the right time as the entire nation is slowly into the festive mood of Navratri. It is a great festival on the southern part of India too like what you see in Gujarat and West Bengal. I think the most grand celebration is at Kolkatta followed by Mysore. In Kerala too, we celebrate the festival with lot of activities like worshiping books, tools, vehicles, visiting temple, etc.etc. Please check whether the meaning you attributed to Navratri is right. I think it is on a different way. As you know 'nava' means nine, and 'ratri' means night, it must be have been nine nights, Please check at your end and if need be, do the needed edit. My wife also shares my opinion. Hope you will clarify.( I just googled and got the fol: Navaratri

Navaratri, which literally means 'nine nights,' dedicates three days each to worshipping the Divine in the forms of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The tenth day, though, is the most important; it is known as Vijayadashami, the 'tenth day of victory.'

peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 23, 2014:

looks like a grand festival for India.Any festival to recommend?

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 23, 2014:

Hi Devika!

Dandiya dance is a folk dance form of Gujarat state of India and is very popular even outside India.

It is indeed a lovely cultural tradition of India.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 23, 2014:

Thank you billybuc, for your encouraging words!

Glad you liked the hub! Thanks and have a good day!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 23, 2014:

Thanks cazzachalloner, for your kind visit and positive comments!

This festival indeed has a positive impact on the spirits.

Thanks for appreciation!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on September 23, 2014:

Thank you Ericdierker, for your kind visit and appreciation!

Yes, it's a happy and colorful festival. Glad you liked it!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 23, 2014:

I have not heard of this night and sounds a lovey experience.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 23, 2014:

Oh what fun! So colorful and so much to do. Thank you for sharing this festival with us.

Carrie Challoner from Epsom on September 23, 2014:

It looks such a spirit lifting festival and event to see. It is so nice to hear of other cultures traditions and festivals.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 23, 2014:

Excellent Hub, so colorful and happy. Great job of explaining the traditions. I want to go!