Garba is one of the major highlights of Navratri celebrations. It is folk dance form of Gujarat, which is generally performed during Holi, Vasant Panchami, Sharad Purnima and Navratri. The Garba Dance signifies the devotion to Goddess Durga as it is performed during the nine nights of Navratri. Traditionally, it is performed by women and in order to perform this dance form performers or dancers stand in a spherical form.
This Gujarati dance form got its name from “Garbha Deep” a lantern positioned inside a perforated pot made of mud or Garba. The perforated pot is enlightened by the lamp inside it, which symbolizes the emergent life. As per myths, this dance form was known as Lasya Nritya in ancient time and the grand daughter in law of Lord Krishna.
In the ancient form of Garba Dance, female dancers put the Matka (Garba) with flaming lamp on their heads and dance in a circular motion. They sing and clap in chorus and harmonize their spherical steps on folk music beats, quite elegantly. The clay pot (Garba) contains a silver coin and a betel nut in it. The pot is given view of sacred “Kumbh” by placing a coconut on the top. As per a tradition of rural areas in Gujarat, female dancers place the Garba putting flaming lamp at a center of a stool and dancing, clapping and singing song in the praise of Goddess Durga.
Generally, Garba dance is performed at night and organized by different groups and cultural organizations. In Garba night dancers collect in stages, open space or corners of streets. All performers stand in a spherical formation and keep a statue or photograph of Goddess Durga at the center point of the circle. The dance initiates with slow beats and as it goes further, the tempo and beats of music go faster. Drummers harmonize the music by sitting at the middle of the circle. Garba dancer wore multicolored traditional Gujarati attire during the dance.
Women, who perform Garba Dance, mostly wear Sari in conventional Guajarati style. Saurashtra is an interior region is Gujarat, where Garba dancers wear marvelously embellished Ghaghara with a backless choli accessorized with chunari or odhani). Performers adorn themselves with plenty of silver jewelry on their head. Their male dance partners wear kediyum (shirt) and vajani (trouser), accessorized with a rumal on the head. Dhol, Harmonium and naal are generally used music instruments for Garba Dance.