Students Dance The Night Away In Celebration of Navratri at The Glenn Omatsu House

  • Two students painting their own Dandiya sticks at a table.

    Students paint their own Dandiya or dancing sticks that are rhythmically tapped together during the Garba dance, Oct. 4, 2022 at the Glenn Omatsu House. Photo by Amy Punt.

  • Students pose for a group photo

    Students gathered to kick off the fall festival of Navratri with a Garba dance at the Glenn Omatsu house, Oct. 4, 2022. The event marks the arrival of fall. Photo courtesy of the Asian American Pathways Project.

  • Students danced for hours to celebrate the Goddess Durga and her defeat of evil at the Garba dance, Oct. 4, 2022 at the Glenn Omatsu House. Photo courtesy of the Asian American Pathways Project.

  • A framed photo of the Goddess Durga sits upon a table at the event.

    An image of the Goddess Durga at the center of the circular dance represents the only constant amid a constantly revolving universe. Photo by Amy Punt.

  • Student organizers Anmol Walvekar and Justine Cruz wear traditional clothing customary for celebratory dancing. Photo by Amy Punt.

  • Mitesh Sawant, an engineering management graduate student, returned to participate in the festivities. Photo by Amy Punt.

Students kicked off the fall season this month with a festive Garba dance to celebrate Navratri at the Glenn Omatsu House on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Garba, a Hindu dance and religious tradition from Gujarat, India, is observed during Navratri, a religious festival to honor the Goddess, Durga. Navratri occurs before Diwali, the festival of lights, which usually falls sometime in October or November. The Hindu astrological calendar determines the dates for Diwali and Navratri.

Navratri honors the Goddess Durga over nine nights to remember her defeat of evil. Participants celebrate by performing Garba, a dance in concentric circles around her picture that recognizes her nine incarnations. Diwali also celebrates light over darkness and marks the end of exile for some deities in Hindu mythology.

Event organizer Anmol Walvekar, a third-year Anthropology, and Asian American Studies major, said, “This festival (Garba) and Diwali are some of our biggest festivals. It’s a time to dress up and dance.” And dance they did; many dressed in brightly-colored traditional clothing while hitting customary Dandiya sticks together in rhythm with the music.

Some students arrived early to paint their own Dandiya sticks. Student organizers decked the Glenn Omatsu House with colorful flower garlands called mala. They set up a photo backdrop made of vivid light-catching fabric for attendees to snap the all-important selfie.

At the heart of the event stood a carefully positioned image of the Goddess Durga, representing the only constant in the universe. Time in Hinduism is cyclical. God or, in this case, Goddess, remains the only unmoving symbol amid eternal and infinite movement.

The Goddess at the center of this celebration experienced a lot of exciting movement as attendees danced round and round for hours.

There will also be a celebration of Diwali at the Glenn Omatsu House on Monday, Oct. 24, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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