Navratri is a festival of Nine nights, NAV means 9 RATRI means night and . It is celebrated across the world and mostly in India. Matajis garba are devotional songs and are intergral part of our devotion. They help to build a spiritual atmosphere and to focus our minds on our prayers and the meaning of the rituals we are observing. When we join in the singing of garba we immerse ourselves more deeply in devotion of mataji. The more contibute to the devotion the greater the pleasure and the blessings that we derive from them.
Many beutiful garba are associated with mataji. By encouraging their singing we hope to keep our spiritual traditions alive. During navratri People do garba and raas around the madh. The madh is a small tower with 5,6,7,8 sides or more, One these flat sides there is a matajis picture. If you look at the picture above you can see the matajis madh I have tried to draw on paint. Its not as 3D but its the nearest I could get. Each day of navratri is celebrated with different matajis, On the first 3 days its mahakali , the three middle days its mahalaxmi and the last three days are mahasaraswati and adding these days together equals 9. We celebrate Navratri because many mataji went to battle with mahishasur and on the tenth day mataji killed mahishasur the tenth day is called dassera.When durga killed mahishasur her name was from then called mahisasur mardini. And also when durga killed Cham and munda she was after called Mata Chamunda. Mahakali also represented this day.
On the tenth day there is a havan of mataji, In community halls.Also in some parks they burn alight ravan he also got killed on this day. Ravan got killed by lord Rama.
Gujaratis perform their tradinal dances garba & dandia raas during navratri. The women-fold dance in a circle singing mataji garbas or traditional songs. Dandiya raas is played with wooden sticks. Apart from Gujarat garbas are performed in other states and regions cities like mumbai.
The Garba And The Garbi
Garba: Mainly performed by females in a circular formation, it is in reverences of goddess Ambaji. The basics of the dance are singing and clapping rhythmically while going round the goddess. Today, many modifications are prevalent to the basic pattern and even men are free to join in.
Garbi: Originally men use to perform this dance. It was on the way back from a battle that the victorious army would start dancing to couplets and amorous songs sung by the Charanswar, or the narrators who used to go to the front to raise the spirit during the battle by singing songs of valour. The dance was characteristic for its forceful movements which would fascinate viewers. Today, however, even females participate in the dance.
What is the Matajis Garbo?Mataji garbo can be in different sizes and made with different materials such as Clay(mati), Steel and Gold. The garbo is full with detailed patters which are outstanding. Matajis garbo play a big part in garba, they come in the singing of the garba and in the garba itself. Mataji herself has the garbo sitting on her head at the garba time. On top of the garbo is a flame this is called a divo. The divo is run by ghee (purified butter). Many gujaratis put the garbos on there head while playing the garba. In many house people do the light garbo in there homes and some people do it for 24hours throught the auspicious nine nights.During these nine days, an attractively created colourful clay pot with a ‘diya’ (light) is ceremoniously placed near the shrine of the Goddess. This is call a ‘garbo’. The participants move round in a circle around a mandvi (garbo), a structure to hold earthen lamps filled with water and to house the image or idol of mother goddess. A betel nut and a silver coin are placed within the pot, called a kumbh, on top of which a coconut has also been placed. Pandals are standing over these madvis and decorated with asopalav, date palm leaves, flowers and electric light. As the dancers whirl around the pot, a singer and a drummer provide the musical accompaniment. The participants clap in a steady rhythm. The dance usually starts slowly. It gets faster and faster as the music too gets more rapid until the dance abruptly comes to a halt. There is a pause for a while and the dance commences once again, the singer leading with a new song.In the villages of Gujarat, the Garbo is placed in the center and brightly dressed ladies move around it singing and and playing a dance form called Garba.The concept of Garbo is related to microcosm (smaller analysis ) and macrocosm ( larger analysis).Microcosm : An earthen pot with holes, through which a flickering light shines through is similar to the human body (an earthen pot) with inner light of god within.
Macrocosm : The Universe of ours is as an earthen pot and light (Sun, Sakti) energy of the supreme reality shining through. Moving around a circle in a Garbo, indicate the never-ending cycle of creation, maintenance and destruction phases of supreme reality. So now you know what you'll depict when dancing the Garba!