Festival

Dandiya

12:56 PM

 

dandiya

As we lived many years in Bangalore, the festive season there was relatively quiet, Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated but not with such pomp as it is in Mumbai, Navratri was pretty much not talked about, Diwali was celebrated pretty much the same as everywhere else, though as DH said, not as loud and big as in North India, then Christmas was the usual thing, so was New Year, and the festive season pretty much concluded with Pongal, the harvest festival before we found ourselves in Summer, Holi wasn’t really that much of a big thing there either.
Moving to Mumbai exposed us to a world of festivals we never really saw celebrated in the South: Janmashtami and its Dahi Handi festival during which troops form human pyramids to reach a clay pot and win a monetary prize. Ganpati festival which is pretty much THE big Mumbai festival, and just now we concluded Navratri this Sunday, the festival during which Durga is worshiped and conclude with Dussehra on the 10th night. And while Navratri is celebrated all across India, in the 6 years we lived in Bangalore the only thing we heard about it was from the Durga Puja in Kolkata, and the Dassehra celebration at the Mysore Palace which we are still yet to see, I learned from South Indian friends that some do put a traditional doll display into their home for the festival, a thing I haven’t heard of here in Mumbai.
In Mumbai Navratri is famous for its Dandiya parties. Dandiya being a dance form that originated from Gujarat, and Gujarat being the neighbouring State with a strong Guajarati community in the city, the festival has become part of the city celebration. While some place will have dances all 9 days, others will do it just a few days, and pretty much all housing societies and apartment complexes will have a Dandiya celebration toward the end of the festival. Our building could as well be known by the name of “no-festival” because in the almost past year (yes almost a year without moving!) nothing has been done, no Christmas, no New Year, no Holi, no Independence Day, no Ganesh Chaturthi, and no Navratri or Dandiya. But all the other societies in the area were having a Dandiya on the 12th, and I have a friend who invited me to theirs. We didn’t dance, as they wanted the people planning to participate in it to take dance classes, but once the actual dance program was over the kids could play with the Dandiya sticks while adults went and ate the food prepared for the occasion.
It was Ishita’s first Dandiya, the previous two we were a bit intimidated by the huge setting in our old apartment complex and didn’t really knew people in the place to feel like taking part in it. DH doesn’t even come from an area of the country were Navratri is celebrated that big.
So this year we dressed Ishi up in a ghagra choli (lehenga) and we did put some ethnic wear ourselves, DH in a kurta pajama and me in a kurta-churidar suit. The ladies and girls taking place in the choreographed dance were all dressed up in rather elaborate Gujarati style ghagra choli and really seemed to know what they were doing. The Dandiya dance is done holding two sticks and tapping them in rhythm or against each others in your hands, or against the stick of a partner. While all the dancers move in circles, it’s a very beautiful dance and some can be very elaborate. Ishita and her friend did try their hands at it, and had a blast until their typical 4+ years old self took over and they managed to hurt themselves with the stick, at this point the jury is still out deliberating if it started as an accident or not, but it end up with some retaliation blows and a bump on the head for Ishita, both girls obviously have their own versions of the fact and who started it…sigh.
Now we are seeing Diwali coming our way in a few weeks, and that will be a loud one as usual, then we will head for a nice much deserved vacation. This year the festive season is leaving me a bit more tired than usual thanks to the fact Ishi’s school is doing a lot of special days, and that the public holidays have been rolling out one after the other, this week I have one public holiday coming, and another day off declared by her school.

4 comments

  1. Alexandra Madhavan12:52 AM

    She looks so cute! She is so pretty :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maria1:57 PM

    She's looking more and more like you! except for the hair. so pretty. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. She is :) he hair is dark but interestingly got some of the copper hue mine have. Her eyes are brown but have the same shape and same eyelid that disappear completly in a fold like mine, but their color is the same as DH's

    ReplyDelete

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