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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

ICAC hosts garba to highlight culture, bring together community 

Kavya Patel
Garba attendees dance together in the large gym Sept. 30.

Vibrant fabrics adorned with flower garlands and delicate strings of lights decorated the walls of the gym lobby on Sept. 30, greeting hundreds of colorfully dressed guests as they entered the large gym for a Garba celebration. 

This is the second year that the Indian Cultural Awareness Club (ICAC)  has hosted Garba — a Gujarati celebration and style of dance. One dance involves everyone moving in a circle, dancing to a pattern of steps and twirls. Participants also celebrate through dandiya, a Gujurati folk dance involving wooden sticks that are clacked together in a pattern to the beat of the music. Both dances are meant to encapsulate a sense of community and fun. 

Around 400 students and parents, including some from other schools, attended the 4-hour event, dancing together and going outside to eat when they desired. Tickets were priced at $25. 

Although slightly smaller than last year’s sales, the event raised almost $10,000, of which $6,675 went to pay to caterers, the DJ and other small expenses like paper products, wristbands and decorations. Overall, the club raised roughly $3,200, which they plan to use to fund decorations for Bombay in the Bay in February. 

Food was catered from Chaat Bhavan, a Chaat restaurant with branches throughout the Bay Area. 

“We had a good turnout and it seemed like people had fun,” senior club officer Anu Thakur said. “People enjoyed the food and dancing, and I would consider it a success.”

According to Thakur, the club officers — Thakur along with seniors Avik Belenje, Shyla Bhandari, Raghav Chakravarthi, Kavya Patel and Samik Pattanayak — and their parents began planning for the event during the summer through online Zoom meetings, discussing logistics including dates, decorations and catering. Originally, the date of the event was set for Oct. 21, but was later preponed to Sept. 30 to avoid conflicts with the band senior night.

The ICAC families also spent hours setting up and decorating the night before and on the whole day of the event. Loosely based on last year’s decorations, the centerpiece in the gym held a picture frame of Goddess Amma, a Hindu goddess of weather — which attendees danced around as part of one dance. 

Though the set-up for such decorations and process of holding the 4-hour event was tedious, Thakur said it was an opportunity for the ICAC members to bond and spread their culture to the community. 

“Festivals like Garba are pretty universal for all Indians, and I think it’s important to immerse people of different cultures into our culture,” Thakur said. 

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