‘Navratri, meaning ‘nine nights’, is an ancient and colourful festival. It honors the one divine ‘Shakti’ or Force, which supports the entire universe, and is personified as the 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. As the dancers whirl around the pot, a singer and a drummer provide the musical accompaniment. The participants clap in a steady rhythm.
Nowadays, loudspeakers are used to enhance the sound, which grows to a crescendo. 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 “Dandia-Ras” or ‘stick’ dance, in which men and women join the dance circle, holding small polished sticks or Dandias. As they whirl to the intoxicating rhythm of the dance, men and women strike the Dandias together, adding to the joyous atmosphere. So popular are the Garba and the Dandia-Ras that competitions are held to assess the quality of the dancing. Prizes are given to those judged to be the best. The costume 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.’
The festival started on the 16th of October and ends on the 23rd of October. I managed to only go on one day which was on Friday the 19th. I would have liked to go more but other plans came into play, but that one day was absolutely fun. Here’s what I wore:
Indian outfit (sarara) – India
Bangles – India
Jewellery – India
*2 photo’s taken by my Sister – I’m sure you can tell which ones!