Garba is Gujarat’s best –known folk dance. Its name comes from a Sanskrit word ”garbha deep”, which refers to a oil lamp placed in a perforated earthen pot. The dance is performed in a circle around the pot to celebrate the festival of Navratri, which honors Goddess Amba and the nine nights she fought to defeat a demon. A form of worship offered by women, the dance consists of clapping hands and moving feet in various combinations and speeds according to the rhythm of the song. Besides Navratri, Garba is performed at weddingsm, religious functions and other festive occasions.
While most people associate Garba with the dance form, its essence is actually in the song to which it is performed. Navratri Garbas usually sing praises of the Mother Goddess, but there are hundreds of Garbas, traditional and modern, on a gamut of religious and secular themes. They express emotions that characterize the human condition. Traditionally only women danced Garba. Similary, the Garbi is exclusively performed by men. It is very energetic dance that involves circular actions executed with tremendous speed and grace.