The culture of West Bengal is renowned worldwide for its richness and variety. Dance and music are essential parts of Bengali culture which reflects the rich cultural heritage of the state. Dance and music of West Bengal are known across the globe for their beauty and fervor.
Some of the popular dances are
This is a traditional folk dance of West Bengal performed by the women to seek the blessings of Gods so their wishes for a child are fulfilled. After getting their wishes fulfilled women again dance in the temple premises to appease the deity and thank him for his blessings. The dance is also performed after recovery from a contagious disease like smallpox or chicken pox.
This is a devotional folk dance of West Bengal which holds a special place in Bengali culture. This folk dance is performed specially during Chadak festival in the month of March-April. It is much popular in North Bengal, especially in Malda district. This dance is a solo performance in which the participant wears a mask while performing. In this dance there are two main dancers and a chorus. The two main dancers perform the role of nana (maternal grandfather) and nati (grandson) respectively. The theme of the dance based on social, political, economic and moral problems of contemporary society.
It is a popular tribal folk dance of the Birbhum district performed by both men and women. It is basically performed in the month of Pausa during the Gregorian months of December and January. The dance is basically related to the Tusu Parab (Tusu Festival) which is celebrated on the day of Makar Sankranti. On this day girls gather at the riverside to worship the clay and cowdung idol of Goddess Tusu so to get a good groom.
The Santhal dance is tribal folk dances of India which showcases immense vibrancy and cheerfulness. This dance is a replica of the folk dance of Madhya Pradesh. The dance is performed by both the men and women of the Santhali tribe. The theme of the dance is related to gender issue and land rights. It is performed to celebrate spring festival in which glory of nature is praised.
This is another notable form of folk dance which has a different art of expression. This dance is performed to express different situations of human life like remorse, celebration, anger, pain or love. The dance is performed in the first ten days of the Muslim festival of Muharram.
Music of West Bengal
The richness of Bengali culture also reflects in the music that expresses the feeling of love, sadness, anxiety, motivation, devotion or spirituality. The music of West Bengal also refers as Bangla Sangeet. Some of the popular Music of Bengal are:
Classical Bangla Music
The classical music of West Bengal is highly inspired by the other forms of Indian classical music. The influence of carnatic music has significant influence on the classical music of Bengal. Like other classical forms of music of this place also based on the musical modes called ‘Ragas’. Themes of classical music have its root in Jaydev's Gitagovindam, Rabindra-Sangeet, Shyama-Sangeet, Mangalgiti and Padavali kirtan.
This is one of the most popular kinds of Bangla music which was created by the great poet and the Noble Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. These songs are regarded as cultural treasures of Bengal because of highly prophetic and intellectual in nature. These songs transcend the mundane to the aesthetic and express all ranges and categories of human emotion. In these songs the one can experience the interwoven thoughts of philosophy, love, devotion, sacrifice and all form of human emotions.
Baul Sangeet has always held a special place. It is basically a folk dialect of Bengali music and highly spiritual in nature, but far away from religious dilution. This form of music was developed by a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal who are considered to be a syncretism group with music in their blood. In 2005 they were declared as the 'Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity' by UNESCO. This music is considered to be the medium of interaction with an almighty as similar to Sufi.
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