Going crazy for Dandia

Going crazy for Dandia

Patrick Xie

Students attend Dandia throughout the Bay Area to celebrate Navrati and enjoy the cultural dance

A crowd of people dressed in traditional Indian clothing jump around in a circle. Booming music playing in the background competes with the sounds of clashing sticks. People dance, sing and have as much as fun as possible. This could only be one thing. This is Dandia.

Dandia, nicknamed the “Sword Dance” is a traditional folk dance performed during the evenings of the Hindu holiday Navratri the nine nights and ten days of worship of Goddess Durga, who slayed a powerful demon king. Everyone wears traditional Indian clothing, while the women sometimes compliment it with heavy jewelry and the men wear special turbans.

“[Dandia] is a way to get connected with your culture,” sophomore Minolee Vora said. “It is not just people our age, but it‘s the parents, the grandparents and everyone from all over the place.”

A group of MVHS students attended Dandia at the Santa Clara Convention Center, held by the Sankara Eye Foundation. Dandia is a dance involving a large circle and hitting large sticks and was celebrated all throughout for the Indian holiday of Navrati. Photo with permission from Minolee Vora.The Sankara Eye Foundation Dandia was held at the Sunnyvale Convention center, while Dandia was also being held in many other places like the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple. Another Dandia will also be held this Oct. 23. No matter where the event was held the dance was still the same. The dance of Dandia imitates the fight between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura, a powerful demon king.

“You form a circle and you do the dance and you keep rotating, so you have a different partner each time,” sophomore Athreya Alur said. “The bigger the circle, the more fun it is, so the longer it takes to complete one. We had this huge circle, it took 20 minutes just to [complete] one.”

People perform either the five-step or a 12-step Dandia with two Dandia sticks to dance with. They continue to bounce around, sing and make contact with their sticks with the person opposite from them.

“Almost anyone can do it,” junior Vinit Parikh said. “It is easy to learn and it is fun with a lot of people.”

Every year when Dandia comes around, you can expect quite a party happening everywhere. Dandia is fast-paced, fun and exciting. Maybe next year, you can see what it actually is like.