Gujarat is known as the 'Land of Festivals'. A number of fairs and festivals are celebrated in the state with great fervor and joy. The celebrations of these occasions are accompanied with traditional dance and music performances. The state has been blessed with a rich tradition of performing arts. The various song, dance and drama forms practiced in Gujarat are famous throughout India. The most fascinating fact of all is that the origin of these performing arts dates back to the ancient era of Lord Krishna. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna spent the early days of his life in Gokul.
Here, he charmed the natives by playing the flute and dancing. He
performed Raas Leela with the Gopis, which is remembered till date.
After he became the ruler of Dwarka, he patronized folk songs and dances
in his kingdom. Since, then the Gujaratis have maintained the tradition
and preserved the heritage in all its glory. The folk drama popular in
Gujarat is known as Bhavai. Other popular folk dances of Gujarat are
Tippani Nritya, Siddi Dance, Padhar Nritya, Dangi Nritya and local
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.
Garba Raas is a popular folk dance of Gujarat. The dance is said to
have an ancient origin. Like the credit for popularizing Ras Leela goes
to Lord Krishna, the credit for promoting Garba goes to Usha, the grand
daughter-in-law of Shri Krishna. It was earlier known as Lasya Nritya.
Ras Garba is a typical dance performed by women in the honor of Ma
Jagdambe, the Mother Goddess.
Ras is one of the popular dance forms of Gujarat. It is derived from
the Ras Leela performed by Lord Krishna in Gokul and Vrindavan. Ras is
usually performed by a group of youthful people. They take measured
steps and move in a circle, on the beats of musical instruments, like
Dhol, Cymbals, Zanz and Shehnai (Flute). The dancers wear colorful folk
costumes for the dance. Men wear a small coat called Kedia, teamed with
a kurta having tight sleeves, pleated frills at the waist and
embroidered borders. They also wear tight trousers, colorful turbans and
kamarbandha (waist band).