One of the interesting ceremonial dances is Garba of Gujarat. It is performed on the occasion of Navaratra, a religious ceremony deeply influenced by Tantrism. Navaratra is observed with great solemnity, especially in Gujrat, before Diwali in the lunar month of Kartik, corresponding to October/November. During this religious observance the women folk of Gujarat perform Garba, derived from the word ‘Garbha’, meaning the womb. A clarried-buttet-fed pradeep (lamp) is put inside an earthen pitcher with holes all around it. This pitcher with the lamp inside it symbolizes the womb of the mother goddess charged with creative energy and the lamp signifies the seed of creation. This pitcher with the lamp is called garbi. It is placed inside a decorated wooden structure called mandavi. One or two girls each carrying on her head the mandavi with the garbi and followed by the other dancers go from house to house. On reaching the premises of a household the mandavi is put on the ground and the dancers
dance around it. While dancing they sing garba songs which were written long long ago. The percussion music is provided by the drum called dholak. Garba songs are tuneful and the dancing is fascinatingly lyrical. There are various kinds of Garba which are danced by girls of every caste and community.
The men folk of Gujarat perform Raas dances on this occasion. Basically, however, Raas dances are connected with agricultural operations.