Raas or Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk dance form of Gujarat & Rajasthan India, and is associated with scenes of Holi, and lila of Krishna and Radha at Vrindavan. Along with Garba, it is the featured dance of Navratrievenings in Western India. During Navratrifestival, in most of the cities of Gujarat & Rajasthan people gather and perform Garbadance – an event that is becoming increasingly popular in countries with large Gujarati-speaking communities around the world, such as Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Dandiya Raas dance originated as devotional Garba dances, which were performed in Goddess Durga’s honor. This dance form is actually the staging of a mock-fight between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura, the mighty demon-king. This dance is also nicknamed ‘The Sword Dance’. The sticks of the dance represent the sword of Goddess Durga.
The origin of these dances can be traced back to the life of Lord Krishna. Today, Raas is not only an important part of Navaratri in Gujarat but extends itself to other festivals related to harvest and crops as well.