Gujarat is an interesting blend of art, tradition, history, and folklore. The performing arts in Gujarat is a combination of all these elements, which has been further blended with religious aspects. In the days of yore, different dance forms were practiced in the different regions of Gujarat. Dance forms like Raas, Garba, Hudo and Tippani emerged in Saurashtra. Garba is one of the less complex dances of Gujarat than the other traditional and classical dances of India.
Garba dance is performed during Navaratri in Gujarat. The term Garba is taken from the Sanskrit word Garba deep. The word 'garba' literally means 'inside', and 'deep' connotes a 'small earthenware lamp'. It is often seen in India that traditional earthenware lamps decorate the space where different dances, both classical and folk, are performed. On a deeper level the earthenware lamp is symbolic of the human body and the light emitting out of it signifies the divine soul.
During the festival of Navaratri, an image of goddess Amba is kept inside a circle, while the dancers perform garba outside the circle. Women folk wear traditional ghagra and choli, while the men can be seen in traditional and colorful kedias. Significantly enough, Garba is performed only by the women folk, before the Aarti takes place, quite unlike the Dandiya dance, which takes place after the Aarti. Garba in Gujarat, India has more of devotional connotation, than the merrymaking in Dandiya.
Though Garba is one of the traditional dances of Gujarat, youngsters are quite energetic while performing it. Navratri sees them in their colorful, traditional outfits all geared up to reach the venue. Nowadays Garba, Raas, and Dandiya are quite the in thing. They are no more confined to Gujarat and the nearby states. Come Navratri and one can see the whole of India participating in it. Big parties and feasts are arranged for, after the dance. Couple passes are available in all the major outlets and huge investments are made on these functions.