Navratri is celebrated by communities gathering for dances and night entertainment festivals. In India and now all over the world, Navratri is celebrated in different ways, in colourful and elaborate ways. One of the dances that can be seen during the nine days is the Garba, originating from the Indian region of Gujarat. Traditionally, it involves dancing in a large circle around a central lamp or images/statues of goddesses. The circle represents the Hindu concept of time and the lamp represents light. Another popular dance is the Dandiya Raas, which involves dancing with sticks. It symbolises the battle between a Hindu goddess and a demon king.
During the nine days, guests and families are welcomed with varied and delicious banquets. Men and women dress elaborately every day for the puja or night rituals and dances. Another part of the puja is the decoration of puja thalis or aartis in honour of the mother goddess Amba.
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The tenth day of the festival is called Dussehra and marks the victory of the good against evil and also the motherhood of God. Durga Puja is particularly important: after worshipping her for nine days, her image is carried in a procession through the streets and there is much celebration and dancing to celebrate Durga's farewell to her mother after her nine-day visit. In the northern regions of India, Hindus also celebrate Rama's victory over Ravana during this period, similar to Diwali. The ten days represent the ten heads of Ravana and each day is used by Hindus to rid themselves of bad qualities, such such as lust and jealousy.
Clothing can be understood as a means of showing or presenting a certain identity. It is the practice of wearing and carrying that performatively recreates that identity. Clothing can be used to form groups that involve the wearing of a certain type of clothing and the exclusion of those who do not wear it.
At the raas-garba, it is advisable to wear clothes that you feel comfortable in moving around. Men's trousers and shirts are fine. Raas and garba are usually performed barefoot. So do without socks and stockings and wear shoes that you can happily take off and leave in a corner. The traditional wear of men includes flowing:
Garba clothing is vibrant, colourful and flowy. It allows freedom of movement, especially for arms and legs, and rotates with the dancers as they clap and spin. Men traditionally wear a kediyu and a kafni pyjama. The kediyu is tight-fitting at the chest and flares out at the waist and hips to above the knees. The kafni pyjama is a pair of trousers with several pleats at the waist that bulge outwards when the wearer rolls them up. Today it is common for men to wear kurtas (long shirts that reach below the knees) with tighter trousers. Both chaniya cholis and kediyu pyjamas are elaborately designed. Traditional embellishments include mirrors, intricate embroidery and shells. But don't worry if you don't have these things - just put on loose-fitting, comfortable clothes and you'll fit in just fine at Garba in the Park.
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Preparing for an evening of Garba dancing is always exciting. If you can find the perfect dress for the evening, all the better. There are so many options when it comes to Garba dresses.
You should always prepare in advance by keeping your Garba dresses in advance. The cotton turban, angrakha and dhoti of traditional ethnic and royal fashion will surely give you a regal look on every occasion. The traditional Garba dress for men is the Kediya and the Dhoti. The Kediya is a heavily ornamented frock-style top and is worn by men on most traditional and festive occasions. In Garba clothing for men, kediya and jackets are in vogue.
Traditional Garba clothing is characterised by workmanship, pattern and style. For the Garba, people wear rich, traditional and colourful Gujarati clothes. The collar and sleeves are decorated with intricate printed lace. The elegant red dhoti is decorated with multi-coloured printed jaipuri lace borders. Boys and men wear kafni pyjamas with a kedia, a short, round kurta that reaches above the knees. They wear a turban on their heads with a bandhani dupatta, a solid men's bracelet and mojiris. You can play with colours during all nine days of Navratri. You can choose white for Monday, red for Tuesday, royal blue for Wednesday, yellow for Thursday, green for Friday, grey for Saturday and orange for Sunday. You can also combine two colours, e.g. pink and peacock green or light blue and purple.
Do not opt for an overly heavy look, but choose natural fabrics that do not hinder movement and do not make you sweat during the dance. Wear appropriate footwear. Avoid wearing heels, as they may cut you off and be uncomfortable during the dance. Invest in light, fashionable, colourful and flat dance shoes. The Garba dress for the Navratri, which is probably the most fashionable festival in India, is one of the most elegant and beautiful dresses that Indians wear occasionally. The traditional Garba dress comes in bright colours. The fabulous Indian ensembles, vintage jewellery and dazzling accessories get noticed at every Navratri event and gathering. Looking radiant is a must on these occasions.
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