The first thing when someone says about Gujarat reminds me of the culture, tradition, food, and of course, the vibrant colored folk dances.
Gujarat hosts some of the oldest festivals and celebrations, and therefore people prefer to celebrate every momentous day with a lot of pomp, ceremony, and revelry.
The traditional dances are a significant part of its culture.
In this article, you will get to know about the following popular folk dances of Gujarat,
Let’s see each of these in detail…
Garba is the most popular folk dance in Gujarat.
People of all age groups perform this popular folk dance during the nine days grand festival of Navratri.
Garba means Garbha Deep, which symbolizes “creativity”. It is performed to celebrate the worship of Devi Shakti or the “goddess of creation” of Goddess Jagadamba.
Apart from Navaratri, Garba folk dance is performed on occasions like Sharad Purnima, Vasant Panchami, and Holi.
During the dance performances, women usually wear Kedia and churidar.
Tabla, nagara, murali, Turi, and shehnai are the musical instruments associated with the dance.
The delightful dance dedicated to Maa Durga is started by lighting a lamp inside the clay pitcher with many small holes to invoke mother power.
2. Dandiya Raas
The stick dance or Damdiya is another popular Folk dance in Gujarat.
It is also celebrated during the Navaratri of Ashwin Month.
The dance form indicates the war of Maa Durga with the Mahishasura.
The sticks which the women play with represent the sword of Maa Durga. It also symbolizes vigor, power, and energy.
In addition, Dandiya also symbolizes the Ras Lila associated with Radha Krishna and the Gopis on the full moonlight in Vrindavan.
The beautiful celebration is the epitome of love represented by Kanha dancing in spirit and ecstasy.
Women generally wear colorful lehenga cholis, bandhani dupattas, and silver jewelry, and dance rhythmically and gracefully in the elegant folk dance of Dandiya.
Tippani is a well-enjoyed folk dance in Gujarat’s Chorwad district.
This traditional dance is also referred to as “Tippani Nritya” and “Matla dance.”
The dance is performed by the women using sticks (Tippani) as props. The woodblock or iron attached to it is called Garbo.
It is common among the Koli and Kharwa communities of the coastal region in Gujarat.
It is said that the dance originated among the laborers but is now performed at festivals and marriages as well.
This is quite a significant dance performed during the Holi and Diwali festivals and is known as the Tappani Juriun.
The folk costumes of this dance are also quite traditional and distinctive.
It includes “Kedia” and tight trousers or churidars, colorful embroidered caps, turban, and waistbands.
4. Padhar Dance
Padhar is a folk dance introduced by the people of the Padhar community and is one of the major folk dances of Gujarat.
The community of the Padhar is mainly fishermen who live along the banks of Nal Sarovar in the Bhal region.
The fishermen follow and believe in the customs of Hinduism and worship Goddess Durga in various forms.
While performing this dance, the dancer mimics the events that occur in the lives of the mariners.
The rise and fall of giant sea waves and the wandering nature of fishermen are shown through this dance.
The dance includes steps with small sticks.
The performers dance by riding the boats and singing folk songs related to the sea and their occupations.
5. Bhavai Dance
Bhavai dance is a soulful dance form and is a distinct folk drama of Gujarat.
It is recognized as the oldest folk theatre art form which was later independently developed to create a dance form by the Bhils, Raigarhs, Jats, Kumhars, and others.
In this form of folk dance, male and female dancers balance 7 to 9 brass pots on their heads.
The perfect balance of the pots and the graceful dance performance will leave you spellbound.
The Bhavai drama is a continuous performance and is performed throughout the night.
However, performing in an open field in front of an audience is a source of entertainment and hence draws many audiences overnight.
A male musician plays the background music which is usually a melodious folk song that adds to the beauty of the Bhavai dance.
Many instruments for example Pakwaja, Dholak Jhanjhar, Sarangi, and Harmonium are played.
The dancers are likewise beautifully dressed up in vibrant colors to increase the attractiveness of the dance performance.
These dance festivals are often featured in both weddings and festivals.
Numerous NGOs are actively supporting this folk culture as well.
This graceful folk dance is popular in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and also abroad.
6. Hudo Dance
Hudo is a type of folk dance performed by the Bharwad Tribe of Gujarat’s shepherd group.
The dance was influenced by sheep fights. Two sheep bumping heads against one another is the main theme of this dance.
The dancers clap strongly and rhythmically to the folk song.
Both Men and women from rural areas perform Hudo dances.
The males dress with silver Kadu, Tavij, Kadi, and colorful mala as well as colorful dhotis with stylish borders, national headgear known as Koti, and colorful frills.
In contrast, women dress in dark Jimy, Kapdu, and Odhani as well as silver jewelry, long necklace, earrings, Chudla, Kadu, and Damani.
The Dhol, Dholak, Harmonium, Flute, Kansi, Joda, and Manjira are used as traditional musical instruments.
These are some of the popular folk dances performed in Gujarat.
These types of folk-dance forms are certainly a visual treat and reflection of the dynamic culture of Gujarat.
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