This past Saturday, Hopkins hosted its first ever Garba. You might be wondering what in the world this word that looks like half of a garbanzo bean means or is, or whether it’s actually a word? Garba is a form of dance that originated in Northern India…and is hands down one of my favorite parts of Indian culture. Garbas are traditionally held around the time of a nine-day religious festival called Navaratri, and involve people dancing in concentric circles around lit candles, or around a statue of the goddess that this particular religious holiday celebrates. And though this style of dance originated in North India, it is seen in varying forms all over the country. Everyone dresses up in their colorful outfits and comes together to dance the night away! There is a set beat and pattern to the dancing, but as long as you’ve got the basics down, there are endless moves that you can add on. Typically, one person will start the dance and everyone will follow as the music gets faster and faster. I’ve unfortunately never been in India during this festival, but I’ve heard that it’s one of the most beautiful celebrations of the year.
When I heard that Hopkins would be hosting a Garba I knew that I would be there…and that I would take my friends with me. My roommate and I had been to Garbas before and knew how much fun they were, and our excitement definitely rubbed off. Everyone got dressed up, and we jumped right into the dancing as soon as we got there. They had short lessons for the beginners and before we knew it, everyone was on the dance floor. At one point in the evening, we also all learned the Indian form of the Electric Slide, which was awesome. It was so much fun to get together and dance—whether it was the traditional patterns of Garba or freestyling to the DJ’s Bollywood/Pop mash-ups—and to take part in a cultural event that reminded me so much of home. We danced until our feet started hurting (seriously though…I was really sore the next morning and might still be a little sore), and then danced a little more because we didn’t want it to end. It definitely was one of the best nights I’ve had at Hopkins so far; I can’t wait ‘til next year, and hope to see some of you there!