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Watch: Dancers celebrate Navratri at Metrotown

Hundreds gather at Burnaby's Metrotown to perform garba in colourful celebration of Hindu Navratri festival.

Festive season is getting into full swing as communities across the world prepare for months of holidays leading up to new year.

Last Monday marked the beginning of Navratri for Indian Hindus across the world.

Navratri is a nine-day festival celebrated across different states in India — each celebrating in its own way — to mark the victory of good over evil.

Some celebrate the nine days with a feast while others may fast. Some have elaborate displays of dolls telling a story in their houses (called ‘golu’) and some may dance their hearts out. In the northwestern state of Gujarat, thousands of people gather for nine days on the occasion of Navratri to perform — or "play" —garba, which is a traditional folk dance from the region.

Drone footage from one of India’s largest garba festival, which looks like a constellation of stars, has gone viral on Twitter, capturing the colourful tradition.

As Indian expat population grows in Canada, it is no surprise that Navratri fever has gripped residents of Metro Vancouver as well. On Friday, celebrants came together for the biggest local garba festival, held in Burnaby. Hundreds of people gathered in traditional attire to turn Metrotown into an extravagant night of dance, colour and music.

First-time organizers Plus91 Events said the celebration was aimed at recreating the festive environment found at garba events overseas.

As more people are willing to step out of their homes after a two-year break from social activities due to the pandemic, the organizers said that they were pleasantly surprised to see the event selling out quickly.

“We sold 250 tickets on the first five days,” Plus91's Kimisha Goradia said. “Realizing how many people missed the colours and the vibe and wanted to play garba again, we introduced 50 additional tickets, which sold out in the next two.”

Goradia and fellow organizer Umang Mehta said that before coming to Canada, they would play garba for the whole nine days, without missing a single day. However, they believed that it is not feasible to have a nine-day festival in Canada, and resorted to a single-day celebration in a grand fashion.

The festival ends on Oct. 5, but if you are one of those who missed Metrotown event and want to take part in celebrations, three nights of garba in Surrey  organized by Canadian Desi Arts and Cultural Club could be of interest to you. 

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