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