Garba

Garba is an Indian form of dance that originated in the Gujarat region. The name garba comes from the Sanskrit term Garbha ("womb") and Deep ("a small earthenware lamp").

Many traditional garbas are performed around a central lit lamp or picture/statues of different avatars of Goddess Shakti. The circular and spiral figures of Garba have similarities to other spiritual dances, such as those of Sufi culture. Traditionally it is performed during the nine-day Hindu festival Navarātrī. Either the lamp (the Garba Deep) or an image of the Goddess Durga (also called Amba) is placed in the middle of concentric rings as an object of veneration. During Navratri, Vadodara, the cultural capital of Gujarat is the best place to perform or witness Garba.

Modern garba is also heavily influenced by raas, a dance traditionally performed by men. The merger of these two dances has formed the high-energy dance that is seen today.

Both men and women usually wear colorful costumes while performing garba and dandiya. The girls and the women wear Chaniya choli, a three-piece dress with a choli, a chaniya, as the flared, skirt-like bottom, and dupatta, which is usually worn in the traditional Gujarati manner. Chaniya Cholis are decorated with beads, shells, mirrors, sitaras, and embroidery work, mati, Traditionally, women adorn themselves with jhumkas, necklaces, bindi, bajubandh, chudas and kangans, kamarbandh, payal, and mojiris. Boys and men wear kafni pyjamas with a kediyu - a short round kurta - above the knees and pagadi on the head with bandhini dupatta, kada, and mojiris.

There is a huge interest in Garba amongst the youth of the Indian and in particular Gujarati diaspora. Garba and Dandiya Raas are popular in the United States where more than 20 universities have Raas Garba competitions on a huge scale every year with professional choreography. Garba is also very popular in the United Kingdom where there are a number of Gujarati communities who hold their own garba nights.