Dandiya Raas is the most popular dance of Gujarat. The dance is so popular that it is performed not only in the state, but throughout India. Infact, it is a special feature of the Navratri festival. The festival is celebrated to pay homage to the nine incarnations of Mata Amb, the Mother Goddess. People observe fasts on all nine days of the festival and pay regular visits to temples. While the days are filled with devotion towards the deity, the nights are vibrant, reflecting the festive spirit at its peak. Special arrangements are made for Dandia dance performances. Even the state government organizes special event for the enjoyment of the people.
Dandia is usually done in a group, by both men and women. The special feature of the dance is the colorful attire worn by the dancers and the colorful sticks carried by them. The sticks are used as prop and are beautifully decorated. It is for this reason the dance is also called the 'Stick Dance'. These sticks are usually made of bamboo, painted in different colors to make them look attractive. The performers hold sticks in both their hands and strike them together on the beats of the musical instruments. Dandiya Ras involves a huge number of people at a time. According to the dance setting, two circles are formed by the dancers.
Below are some pictures related to Dandiya that I took over the weekend in my community.