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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“India Club Event – October 17, 2009”

In celebration of the Indian event Garba, community and Indian club members gathered to dance and pray Saturday at the Ina A. Gittings building. In addition to raising cultural awareness, the event also served as a fundraiser to raise money for housing and transportation for international students.

An array of brightly-colored swirling saris filled the gym in the Ina A. Gittings building Saturday night as the UA India Club hosted its annual Garba celebration.

The Hindu cultural-religious celebration filled the gym with more than 150 students, parents and local Indian community members from 8 p.m. until after midnight for a night of traditional food, dancing and music.

“”Garba is a traditional event celebrated for nine days in October to worship three different goddesses”” said Pratik Patel, a finance junior and president of India Club. “”The celebration worships the goddesses of wealth, purity and well-being for three nights each.””

Guests were encouraged to participate in the traditions of the Garba celebration by forming a large circle around an altar placed in the middle of the gym with the figure of Lakshmi, the goddess of good fortune, and dance around each other.

The Garba celebration also included a variety of different Indian traditions, including a modernized dance called Dandiya, which is danced in two long lines with participants hitting two wooden sticks, an eight-minute prayer worship called Aarti and traditional Indian cuisine of vegetable rice and peanut curry. 

Although UA India Club students planned and organized the event, parents and community members were invited to participate in the traditions and dancing.

“”It’s a great thing that the club organizes events like this,”” said Rowena D’Moute, parent of an India Club member. “”The dancing and music are all very important to our culture, and the eating too, of course.””

The event also served to culturally diversify the club, as people of all different cultures and ethnicities joined in to learn more about the Indian traditions.

“”One thing others can relate to is the music.”” said Vanisha Desai, a pre-pharmacy sophomore. “”The music we dance to is a lot like folk music.””

At the celebration, people who were unfamiliar with the traditional dances were taught steps to the various tempos and songs.

“”The dance steps are very easy to pick up,”” said Bonnie Raschke, an ecology and evolutionary biology junior who attended the Garba celebration for the first time.

Patel said the group plays more traditional music at the beginning of the night and moves into more modernized hip-hop music at the end in order to include students not familiar with the steps.

The celebration also served as a fundraiser for the club’s many different efforts, one of the most costly being integrating and providing support to international members on campus. 

“”The money made here tonight will help the club in providing international students housing and transportation when they arrive and in funding future events”” Patel said.

The funds will also help the club’s Valentine Formal scheduled to further diversify the club in reaching out to Greek Life on campus.

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