Community News: A Stunning Evening of Vibrant Colour and Dance
For the first time in its existence, the Royston Indian Society presented a traditional family evening at the St Thomas of Canterbury Church Hall on Saturday (28th Oct) to celebrate the rich, cultural diversity of its Country in the town. It was a twin Navrathri/Garba event, native to the Indian state of Gujarat, being the fifth largest in the Country, which resulted in a dazzling display of colour and vibrant dancing for several hours, with many of the guests in their traditional dress, which is Kedyu for the male, and Chaniya Choli for the female. The dancers are heavily adorned in bangles, waistbands, and long earrings. The dances and merriment are usually performed at the Festival of Navratri and Garba is Sanskrit for womb. Entire communities are involved in the celebrations which extend up to 9 days resulting in this being the longest Festival in the world.
It is traditionally performed with women dancing in a circle around a clay lantern with a light inside which is called a Garba Deep or ‘Womb Lamp’. The evening was enhanced with traditional Indian fare. The Society intends to support, and promote cultural understanding, foster community awareness, and create a cohesive picture of Royston as a town that embraces multiculturalism.
Spokesperson for the Society, Councillor and former Royston Mayor, Mary Antony, said ‘I’m glad that the Garba Event organised in Royston for the first time was a super success, as the residents from our community participated in large numbers dancing to the rhythmic beats of the Garba, where traditions meet joy. I’m sure that cultural events such as this in the future will be enjoyed by many more people and will bring happiness and togetherness.’
The present Mayor of Royston, Lisa Adams, was guest of honour at the evening and expressed her gratitude for the invite. “It was a wonderful evening and I am so pleased I had the opportunity to be part of this amazing event. I thoroughly enjoyed the music, the dancing and the street food,” she exclaimed.
Clive Porter was invited along to take photographs of the event. “It is a very long time since I have witnessed so many genuinely happy and carefree people. The enjoyment of the evening was etched on their faces, and it was great to see,” he reflected.