Betha Garba open to public

V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR

Singapore Gujarati Society (SGS), which has been organising Navratri celebrations since 1956, will for the first time hold the Betha Garba in a public place.

The Oct 2 event at Hokkien Kuay Cultural Centre on Sennett Road will take place from 5pm to 7pm and involve around 450 participants.

Hobbyist singers from the Gujarati community will sing traditional devotional songs to a live audience.

"They will be accompanied by traditional musical instruments such as the harmonium, dholak and tabla," said SGS president Viral Patel.

"The audience will also receive a song book with lyrics for singalong."

Betha Garba is a tradition unique to the Nagar community of Gujarat. It is typically organised at homes to pay homage to Ma Amba (Goddess Durga) during Navratri, a nine-day Hindu festival which is being celebrated between Sept 26 and Oct 5 this year.

"SGS is proud to bring this tradition to the forefront on a public platform to promote Gujarati culture and foster closer bonds," said Mr Patel.

"Navratri honours nine different forms of the goddess Durga and is marked by special rituals, ceremonies, fasts and dances. These symbolise the victory of good over evil.

"Gujaratis have been observing this tradition since time immemorial and continue to do so around the globe. This festival plays a significant role in bringing the community together and fostering harmony."

SGS organised Navratri Coaching Classes - basic dance steps and styles - for more than 700 enthusiasts from Sept 16 to 24.

The main Navratri Event will be held on Oct 7 and 8 at Park Avenue Convention Centre in Changi Business Park Avenue 1. Highlights include music curated by deejays Jack and Vivid, cash prizes for the best dancers and choreographed performances by SGS dance groups.

The SGS Navratri celebrations will culminate with a special Sharad Poornima (worship of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi) on Oct 9.

The white-and-gold-theme event will have a segment in which children below the age of 12 will be introduced to the significance of Navratri and guided through traditional garba and dandiya dance steps. The children will be given goodie bags and can take part in quizzes and storytelling.

More than 150 children are expected to participate.

For more information, e-mail Mr Patel at viralpatel.sgs@gmail.com.

 
 
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