Navratri Dandiya Raas
Dandiya raas is one of the most popular forms among all other forms of Raas (play activities). It also holds a significant role in in the celebration of Navratri. It is well known to set up an enjoyable environment in the celebration of Navratri. In Gujarat, it is the most popular dance form among all and is performed in groups preferably in the evening during navratri. Though it is most popular in the state of Gujarat but dandiya raas is equally performed in many other states during Navratri celebration.
Dandiya raas is performed in the honor of Goddess Durga. It's actually the dramatization of goddess and Mahishasur,a demon king who was fierce and very powerful. Sticks used in Dandiya are represented as the sword of Durga and is performed by both men and women. They perform it in a very rhythmic manner, in a circle when they rotate around mandvi.
In traditions, Daandiya raas is performed after aarti of Goddess Durga. The beauty of this dance lays in the colorfully decorated sticks and multi colored dresses of men and women who perform dandiya raas. Women wear colorful embroidered choli, heavy jewelery and ghaghra whereas men wear colorful kedias. Originally, it was only performed by men with long sticks and they had to train themselves for sword fighting which was later modified and is now known as Dandiya Raas.
The sticks used in Dandiya raas are made out of bamboo tree. That may be the reason that it is also known as stick dance. Dandiya raas is kind of an art as moving and dancing along the circle and rotating at the same time is very difficult. It needs a lot of practice to dance on the rhythm of the background music. In Gujarat, a large number of people get involved in the Dandiya raas and generally two circles are formed.
There is a fun part in making two circles, one circle moves in clockwise direction while the other moves anti-clockwise. This makes it tough too but amazingly adds some really good features as you can’t be lazy here when you are in the circle. You will have to move and dance really fast as the middle drum is beaten. There is a person in the middle of the circle who leads the dances. It is one of the most mesmerizing moments to see all that color glittering in the bright night of Navaratri.