Vancouver's Indian community to come together for garba celebrations - New Canadian Media
Vancouver's Indian community will gather for the colourful garba celebration on Oct. 15. Submitted photo.

Vancouver’s Indian community to come together for garba celebrations

The celebration involves dancing to fast-paced music and is traditionally practiced during Navratri, an annual Hindu festival.

Richmond’s Indian community is coming together to practice a traditional dance during a night of celebration and food. Garba, which originates from the state of Gujarat along the nation’s west coast, involves dancing to fast-paced music and is traditionally practiced during Navratri, an annual Hindu festival.

Although event organizers Sweta Choudhary and Aditya Chourasiya are not from the region where garba comes from, that has not stopped them from using the dance as an opportunity to bring Indian Richmondites together on Oct. 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Vedic Cultural Centre on No. 5 Road.

Choudhary said over the past decade she has been in Canada, she has noticed Indians who immigrate here often socialize within their own circles.

“We want the Indian community (to) come close…We want this kind of event to happen so all the community (can) come together, and we should have our own culture,” Choudhary said.

When it comes to the dance itself, garba is simple and does not involve many steps.

Garba is considered a means of worshipping God. Faithful of all ages participate in this dance during the Hindu festival of Navratri. Submitted photo.

Dancing as a means of worshipping God

“It’s sort of a worship to God,” Chourasiya said. “We make a circle, and this is also inspired by a lot of folklores (and) folk dance as well. Most of the folk dance in India is celebrated in that sense, like you have a centerpiece — usually an idol and worshiping place — and then around that you gather and dance.”

Choudhary added that participants then clap their hands and can use dandiyas, which are decorative wooden sticks for twirling and hitting together, if they have them as well. She also said there will be people at the event to lead the dance and demonstrate the steps.

The pair hopes by organizing this event, younger generations within the Indian community will become better connected to their roots.

“I have a daughter who’s five, so (I) also want her to be a part of the community and learn her culture, where she comes from,” Chourasiya said.

There will also be children’s activities at the event to encourage them to join in on the celebration. During the organizers’ first garba event last year, Choudhary said kids had the opportunity to win gift cards for being the best dressed and best dancer among other categories.

Besides dance, there will be an Indian dinner available, and attendees will dress up in traditional clothing.

Choudhary said she expects about 100 to 150 people to attend the event and that non-Indian people and those outside of Richmond are also welcome to join.

Chourasiya said he and Choudhary have been organizing Indian cultural events in Richmond through Facebook and WhatsApp for about three years.


Suneet Gill is a Vancouver-based New Canadian Media correspondent currently on a work experience placement with Glacier Media. This article was originally published on Richmond News.

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Suneet Gill is a student journalist at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is the community reporter for The Runner, KPU's student-run newspaper. Her areas of interest include culture and arts, social issues, the BIPOC community and anything hyper-local. She lives in Vancouver.

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