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Dandiya Raas in Navratri

Dandiya Raas or simply Dandiya is one of the several forms of Raas and is one of the most popular forms of traditional folk dances performed during the festive season of Navratri. It is done in the honor of the Mother Divine, Goddess Durga. Along with Garba, Dandiya is the featured dance during Navratri nights. The revelry is best seen in Gujarat and many parts of Mumbai.

Dandiya is performed after the aarti of Goddess Durga and sets the mood for the festivity. (Garba is performed before the aarti). It is performed by groups of men and women in colorful attire (chaniya choli for women and kedia for men). What sets Dandiya apart from other dance forms of India is the massive number of dancers who participate in the event, the orchestral music, bright-colored flashy dresses, the designer dandiya sticks and the scope for innovation and creativity.

The History and Origin of Dandiya

Dandiya Raas originated as Garba dance, performed in the honor of Goddess Durga. This dance is the dramatization of a mock-fight between the demon-king Mahishasura and Goddess Durga. The dandiya sticks represents the sword of Durga and hence the dance is called "the Sword Dance". The dance routine involves the spirited whirling by dancers with complicated movement of arms and feet. It is a more complex form of dance than Garba.

Dandiya Customs and Sticks

Navratri eve is the time to doll up in traditional wear and perform the traditional folk dance. Women dress in colorful embroidered ghagra and choli with mirrors and heavy jewelry. The traditional dress for men is kedias and turbans.

The dandiya sticks (also known as swords) are colorful and specially designed. Many of the dandiya sticks are also theme based. Some of the designer dandiya sticks are adorned with jewelry, beads and hangings and covered with satin or bandhani fabric and laces. Buy the best dandiya sticks, practice the right dance moves, drape yourself in traditional clothes and celebrate this Navratri with pomp and pageantry.