Garba dance is a popular folk Dance of Gujarat. It is a circular
form of dance performed by ladies on the Navaratri days, Sharad Purnima,
Vasant Panchami, Holi and such other festive occasions. The word Garba
is derived from the word Garbha Deep meaning a lamp inside a perforated
earthen pot. The light inside the perforated earthen pot symbolised the
embryonic life. In this folk dance, ladies place the pot with the
lamp on their heads and move in circles, singing in time measure by clapping
their palms or snapping their fingers, to the accompaniment of folk instruments.
The actual performance begins at night after the women
finish their house hold work. All gather at street corners. A photograph
of the goddess or a lamp is kept in the centre and around it the
circle is formed. The dancing begins with slow tempo and reaches a fast
tempo. The rhythm is kept by a Dholi or drummer who sit in the centre.
Some times, women carry on their heads 'Mandavali'
a small canopy made of bamboo chips covered with a red silk piece
of cloth. They dance with it and later put it in the centre. Mandavali
symbolises the temple of the goddess. Women wear sari in the Gujarati
style. Each community wears different clothes. In Saurashtra, women
wear embroidered petticoats (Ghaghara), a backless choli (Kapdu)
and a head cover (odhani) with lots of silver and head ornaments. Males
wear Kediyum (shirt) Vajani (trouser) and Rumal a printed head piece with
silver ornaments on the waist, neck and hands. The musical instruments
used for Garba are mainly the drum or dhol and Nal. But Rasa has Pavo
(a double flute) Vansali (flute) Zanza (Discs )etc. The drummer ties his
drums around the neck and moves inside the circle beating it.
Garba songs are mostly in praise of Mother
Goddess Amba describing her form, powers, and invoking her blessings.
Also there are Garbas describing seasons and social themes of domestic
and married life.