Dandiya dancing rocks the night at Navratri celebrations

Dandiya dancing rocks the night at Navratri celebrations
Women dance the garba at Wonderland in Dubai. Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

Dubai - The nine-nights festival, with dandiya and garba dancing, is celebrated with gusto every year by the Gujarati community in the UAE


Ankita Chaturvedi

Published: Sat 8 Oct 2016, 9:08 PM

Last updated: Sat 8 Oct 2016, 9:42 PM

Loud drum beats, the rhythmic tapping of dandiya sticks, people immersed in music and dancing, colourful traditional attires and tasty Gujarati food made this dandiya night at Dubai's Wonderland a gripping, festive show.
Thousands from the Indian Gujarati community gathered to celebrate Navratri (nine nights) festival on Thursday night. According to the organisers, it gets more crowded during weekends.
"Every year, we organise this event to meet and greet our community people and rejoice in dandiya and garba dancing. This was started in the UAE almost 50 years ago. We get full support from government and the Dubai Police in making this event a smooth, peaceful celebration. Usually 2,000-3,000 people attend, but during weekends it goes up to approximately 6,000." said PH Dhakan, one of the organisers of the dandiya show.

Sticking out the moves
Dandiya Raas is the most popular traditional folk dance form of Gujarat. During Navratri festival, people in Gujarat and many other parts of India bring out their dance moves, sometimes dancing all night long during the festivities. The nine-day musical affair is also widely celebrated by Indians settled in different parts of the world. Dandiya sticks are the key part of it, with dancers tapping their pair of sticks with others' in rhythmic, coordinated movements according to the music.
"For us, our people are the biggest celebrities and we want to see them enjoying; that's the reason we don't invite celebrities. It gets chaotic and messy when celebrities attend," he added, when asked if they invite any celebrities.
Dandiya enthusiasts started hitting the floor as soon as the music started, and group os young women, kids and young couples were seen dancing and making revelry until midnight. "This is one of the priceless opportunities where we can experience our folk music and dance our heart out. I am dancing and taking breaks in between to refresh myself. This festival gives us an amazing chance to connect with our culture which we miss here," said Krishna Deepak Kanth, a homemaker from Dubai.

The UAE, being a second home to many Indians, celebrates every festival with grace and civility. And dandiya celebrations, one of the most beloved and awaited occasions here, gets bigger and better every year.
A three-year-old Dev Pratap, dressed in traditional kurta and a Gujarati turban, stole the show with his cute dance moves. "I decided to bring him here so he can get an idea about what our culture is. Though he is little, he is delighted to be playing the garba and dandiya tonight," the toddler's father said.

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