Garba is a form of dance which originated in the state of Gujarat in India. The name is derived from the Sanskrit term Garbha (womb) and Deep (a small earthenware lamp). Many traditional Garbas are performed around centrally lit lamp or a picture or statue of the Hindu Goddess Shakti.
Traditionally, it is performed during the nine-day annual Hindu festival Navaratri. Either the lamp (the Garba Deep) or an image of the Hindu Goddess, Durga is placed in the middle of concentric rings as an object of veneration
Garba songs typically revolve around the subjects of the nine Hindu Goddesses. The style of Garba varies from place to place in Gujarat.
The traditional costume of Garba dancer is brightly coloured red, pink, yellow, and orange, Chaniya Choli or Ghagra Choli, Dupatta with Bandhani (tie-dye), Abhla (big mirrors) or with thick Gujarati borders. Dancers also wear heavy jewellery, such as 2-3 necklaces, sparkling bangles, waist belts, and long earrings.
Traditionally men wear an ethnic Kedia and a Pajama or a Dhoti with a bracelet and necklace. The Dandiya sticks are normally made of wood.
Modern Garba is heavily influenced by Dandiya Raas as well, a dance traditionally performed by men. The merger of these two dances has formed the high-energy Garba dance that is seen today. Both men and women usually wear colorful costumes while performing Garba and Dandiya. The girls and women wear Chaniya Choli, a three-piece dress, which is an embroidered and colorful blouse, teamed with Chaniya, which is the flared, skirt-like bottom, and Dupatta, which is usually worn in the traditional Gujarati manner. Chaniya Cholis are decorated with beads, shells, mirrors, stars, and embroidery work etc.
Traditionally, women adorn themselves with Jhumkas (large earrings), necklaces, Bindi, Bajubandh, Chudas and Kangans, Kamarbandh, Payal, and Mojiris. Boys and men wear Kafni Pajamas with a short round Kurta above the knees and Pagadi on the head with Bandhini Dupatta, Kada, and Mojiris.
Garba and Dandiya Raas Dances are also popular in the United States where more than 20 universities have Raas/Garba competitions on a huge scale every year with professional choreography. Garba is also very popular in the United Kingdom where there are a number of Gujarati communities who hold their own Garba nights that are widely popular among the local Gujarati community.