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Significance of Traditional Garba – Symbolism And Spiritual Meaning of Dandiya Raas

Navratri Garba and Dandiya Raas are slowly losing its real meaning and spiritualism attached to it. In ancient times, earthen pots with several holes for light to pass through were kept on one another in front of the painting or murti of Mother Goddess on the first night of Navratri. A lamp with four wicks was placed in the pot and it was kept lit till the end of Navratri festival. Dance was performed around the lamp in circles.

Garba and Garbi

There are two types of folk dances performed during ‘Garba’.

The dance performed by the males standing in a circle singing while clapping with simple feet movements is called ‘Garbi’ and the dance performed by females with delicate body gesticulations is called ‘Garba’.

‘Garba’ means singing devotional hymns praising the Goddess with rhythmic clapping. It is performed for invoking the blessing of Mother Goddess and thanking her for protecting her children. Through the dance, we also ask her to uphold Dharma by annihilating Adharma.

Symbolically ‘dandiya’ in the ‘Garba’ dance represents the sword in the hands of Mother Goddess.

People pay respect to Mother Goddess by reenacting her bravery. Songs that are sung during Dandiya Raas extols the courage and ferociousness Mother Goddess depicted while restoring Dharma on earth.

Bhakti songs praising Goddess Durga, Amba, Kalika, Randal Maa and other manifestations of Mother Goddess are sung during ‘Garba’.

Musical instruments like drum and clarion accompany the dance.

Later songs based on Sri Krishna lila, compositions on saints, essence of seasons and social issues were included in the Navratri Garba and Dandiya Raas.

Khanjiri, Manjiri, sticks, stack of lamps and other items are used in the dance.