There is a great deal of freedom in the movements and sticks are beaten in standing, sitting or lying position. Occasionally, the men weave patterns of an intertwined rope in a circle; they lie on the floor with the two sticks being beaten above their heads and chests; sometimes instead of hands, the feet hold and strike the sticks.
The Dandiya Rasa is obviously of ancient origin and of ritual significance. The ritual of the Navaratra of the sowing and sprouting of corn for nine days and the climax through a variety of dances links agricultural and urban societies. Today in the cities and town the dance is a social activity and entertainment rather than religious agricultural or fertility symbol.
The Garba of Gujarat is the most popular women’s folk dance of Gujarat. During Navratri, pot is ceremoniously placed attractive designs are made on the pot and a light is placed inside. Village girls bearing pots (garbis) on their heads go from door to door and dance around the respective house
There are variations in the garba different regions communities and dancers have involved their own style and steps. The Garba is indeed a ceremony in which everyone can take part irrespective of caste or social position. The dances are accompanied by drums (dholak) and the vocal women. The songs of the Garba are often history and melodious and have been handed down through generations. The origins of the seem to be a tribal dance revolving around a hunt; later it was transformed into an agricultural ritual dedicated to the goddess Ambika. Today it is a social dance at all levels of society. In essence, it continues to be a fertility dance.
The day after Navratri i.e. the 10th day after Ashwina, is Dussera which celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. Ravana’s effigy is burnt, often giant dummies of Ravana stuffed with fireworks are shot with arrows until they blow up before a large, applauding audience.
Ahmedabad is one of the greatest places to enjoy Navratri. All kinds of Rasa-Garbas, Dandia Raas etc. are practiced in this period, feasting and fasting are important cultural aspects of this day, and various rituals are performed at temples of the 9 Goddesses of Hinduism. The atmosphere is electric and revelry is in the air. The youth of today wants to enjoy “Navratri ” in a different way. Not ” religiously ” but ” fashionably flirtingly. During these nine days, I am sorry to say, the families have to forcibly spend thousands on the ” new and fashionable costumes of their children, the fashion accessories, etc rather than on the real pooja of Maa Ambe. We must concentrate more on Pooja than on the Dandiya which can be done even during day time or late evenings upto 10 pm.
Nowadays celebrating Navratri has become fashion. Actually it should be celebrated performing pooja, giving haldi, kumkum to all ladies – ofcourse we have to enjoy the dance too but within the limit.
Festivals like Navratri in Gujarat symbolise people’s cultural, social and religious aspirations. They help people to live a fuller and better life, remove monotony and provide healthy recreation. They promote unity, fellow-feeling, self-discipline and austerity.