Navratri (Nine Nights)

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Navratri or the Festival of Nine Nights from Ashvin Sud 1 to 9 is devoted to 'Shakti' or Divine Mother. She represents prakriti, counterpart of purusha jointly making possible the creation of the world according to the religious ideology of Goddess worship. Such worships were prevalent in India even before the advent of the Aryans, who adopted it as a religious practice. References in vedas and puranas confirm this opinion. This festival is essentially religious in nature. It is celebrated with true devotion in the various temples dedicated to the Mother. 

The most common form of public celebration is the performance of garbaa or daandia-raas, Gujarat's popular folk-dance, late throughout the nights of these nine days in public squares, open grounds and streets. Females wear ethnic Chania Choli and Males wear Dhoti-Kurta and enjoy garbaa and daandiyaa raas (dance) the whole Night. The participants move round in a circle around a mandvi (garbo), a structure to hold earthen lamps filled with water and to house the image or idol of mother goddess. A betel nut and a silver coin are placed within the pot, called a kumbh, on top of which a coconut has also been placed. Pandals are erected over these madvis and decorated with asopalav, date palm leaves, flowers and electric light. As the dancers whirl around the pot, a singer and a drummer provide the musical accompaniment. The participants clap in a steady rhythm. The dance usually starts slowly. It gets faster and faster as the music too gets more rapid until the dance abruptly comes to a halt. There is a pause for a while and the dance commences once again, the singer leading with a new song.

Another dance which is also a feature of Navaratri is the daandiaa-raas or ‘stick’ dance, in which men and women join the dance circle, holding small polished sticks or daandiaas. As they whirl to the intoxicating rhythm of the dance, men and women strike the daandiaas together, adding to the joyous atmosphere. So popular are the garbaa and the daandiaa-raas that competitions are held to assess the quality of the dancing. Prizes are given to those judged to be the best. The costumes worn for the dances are traditional and alive with colour. The dances usually commence late in the night and continue until early morning, testifying to their great popularity. 



Dandiya Raas or Garba Raas are often seen in Hindi movies. Following are a few examples of songs to which Raas was danced:

Sapne Saajan Ke - title song

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam - dholi taro

Aa Ab Laut Chalen - yahi hai pyar

Lajja - saajan ke ghar jaanaa hai

Suhaag - o sheronwali bigde bana de

Falguni Pathak Raas Songs:

maine paayal hai chhankaayi

mar jaani jhaanjhar bol padi

sajna sajna bole kangana saari raat

Click on links below for Gujrati Daandiyaa and Garbaa Raas songs:

Gujrati Dandiya Raas Songs 1

Gujrati Dandiya Raas Songs 2

Gujrati Dandiya Raas Songs 3