Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern South Asian Students Alliance’s annual Garba kicks off Navaratri on a bright note

Divya Gupta/The Daily Northwestern
The dandiya sticks are traditionally bamboo, and the upbeat dance represents a battle.

Colorful lehengas and salwar-kameez filled the Louis Room in Norris University Center Saturday evening at the South Asian Students Alliance’s annual Garba celebration. 

Garba, a folk dance form, originated in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is traditionally performed during Navratri, a Hindu festival celebrated throughout the Indian subcontinent to honor the goddess Durga. The festival, which usually takes place at the start of October, blends spirituality, culture and tradition over nine nights. 

“I’m so, so happy that such a large number of people came out and celebrated their Indian heritage,” McCormick freshman Rohan Badani, a SASA representative, said. “I’ve been participating in Garba my whole life, and it was so great to celebrate this amazing event with so many people from across all grades.”

The beats of the dhol, the melodies of the flute and the energy of the DJ drew approximately 200 attendees to the dance floor. SASA coordinators and Raas — a co-ed dance group at NU practicing Raas and Garba — choreographed and led intricate routines with hand movements and dandiya sticks. 

The night featured three types of dance: Dandiya Raas, Garba and a lively Bollywood dance jam.

The festival drew both students looking for something brand new and those looking for a taste of home.  

McCormick freshman Kate Manion said the event was her first time participating in Garba.

“I had never experienced anything like it before, and it was so cool to be included in a different culture,” she said. “I loved all the food, music and dancing and am super grateful for this experience.” 

SASA served Indian delicacies including samosas, chutney and chaat. 

Some attendees — like Weinberg freshman Addvika Agarwal — said these foods helped ease homesickness. 

“As a first-year international student, I was terribly missing Indian food and home, but Garba almost made me feel like I was transported back home,” said Agarwal, who is from Bengaluru, India.

Garba is the first of many SASA events this quarter. The organization has already started planning its annual Diwali celebration, Badani said.

“If you happened to have missed Garba, don’t worry,” he said. “There’s more Indian events to come.”

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