Garba Night expands culture, community


Molly Tomczyk, staff writer

Yesterday, Nov. 5, South hosted a Garba, a musical event in the Dome from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m., senior Maya Patel, South Asian Student Association (SASA) Board Member, said. 

Garba Night celebrates the Hindu holiday Navratri, which means the Nine Nights of Durga. Navratri honors women and their significance within families and society. A myth about the goddess Durga portrays these values, Sejal Schullo, SASA Sponsor and Social Studies Teacher, said.

The myth starts with a man who gains immortality by asking the gods to never be slain by a man. However, once he started bringing harm to society, the male gods developed Durga, Schullo said. Durga was able to kill the “immortal” man because Durga was female, Schullo said.

Garba is a colorful affair, with vibrant hues emanating off of attendees’ chaniya cholis, a skirt, top, and sash ensemble. However, one does not have to wear a traditional Garba outfit to the event, Patel said.

Dancers gather in a ring formation, larger rings enclosing the smaller ones, and take part in varying dances, depending on which ring they’re in. Patel has been taught these specific dances since she was four, and has also had the chance to see loved ones grow their abilities at Garba, Patel said.

“I would be teaching [some of my cousins the dance] when [they were] younger and now [they are] doing hard [dances] with me and they’re even faster than me,” Patel said. “It’s crazy seeing [my cousins] learn the new dances and being able to do them.”

South’s Garba Night was an opportunity for students who weren’t South Asian to experience a tradition that some South Asian students have been taking part in their whole lives, Schullo said. Garba Night was a chance to enhance students’ knowledge of other cultures, Schullo said.

“As a psychology teacher I know, psychologically speaking, there is something called the mirror effect, which means that the more [one is] exposed to diversity, the more accepting, tolerant, and understanding [one is of diversity],” Schullo said.

Garba Night was split into 45-minute sections of dancing, with breaks in between, and a DJ present. Schullo invited other schools’ South Asian clubs and all of Glenview to join South students in the Dome, the main gymnasium near Door OO. The standard of taking one’s shoes off while attending Garba opened up the dome as a place to celebrate, where normally the scratching of high heels would inhibit this allowance, Schullo said. 

Students are encouraged to attend Garba Night, this Saturday, even if they are not Hindu or don’t belong to the South Asian community,  freshman SASA member Nuha Babool, said.

“I hope that it’s not just South Asians [at Garba Night]  because Garba is an event for everyone,” Babool said. “[Garba Night is] a communal event and that means all communities.”