Indian Festival Navratri : Nine Nights of Festivities, Music, Dance Extravaganza!
What Is Navratri Festival?
© Chitrangada Sharan Sept. 2014
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- 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 might vary from one state 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 most important of all and it 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, that coincides with the beginning of winter season.
What Is Dandiya Raas or Garba!
An elaborate explanation of Navratri festival can not be done in a single hub.
Therefore I am focusing on one aspect of the celebration--the 'Dandiya' or 'Garba' folk music and dance festival, which originates 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 different steps and move around in a circle.
§ They make 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 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 musical instruments.
§ The effect is just magical to the participants as well as the onlookers.
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 colorful and traditional costume and the traditional jewelry.
- The costumes are in bright colors 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 prints 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 colors.
- The women costume is 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 colors of the costume.
- Dandiya raas is a social dance and many people dance together in circles, therefore it needs lot of coordination and training.
- Usually there are two large circles, one moving in clockwise direction, while other in anti clockwise direction.
- This 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.
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 leave out 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 the celebrations.
Are you aware of the Dandiya music and dance festival?
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.
- Besides the religious aspect there is a social aspect attached to the celebration of festivals.
- You meet family and friends and enjoy together.
- You laugh, eat, sing and dance and all that contributes in relieving you from stress and tensions, if any.
- You don't even realize, how much positive energy flows when people are sharing happy and enjoyable times together.
- 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 23rd Sept. 2014
All Rights Reserved.
PROTECTED: PLEASE DO NOT COPY!
Dandiya Dance, source: You tube
Garba song and dance, source: You tube
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