Garba was originally called Raas or Rraas Garba just like Raas Leela. People used to gather for satsang/ aaradhna of Maa Jagdamba. They used to establish Mataji's chhavi/murti in the middle of the chowk,sing bhakti songs (Raas,aarti,prarthna) for Maa.
In devotion they used to get up and start clapping,take rounds by feeling the owe and devotion towards Maataji,tht was called Raas.
Garbo is degeneration of the word Garabh-Deep. Garbh means a pot with number of holes on it and lighted lamp in it. Which then degenerated as Garbho and as time passed it became Garbo
People in Gujarat bring Garbo at home to establish for 9 days, as a symbol of welcoming Maa. They offer naivaidya to their kuldevi ,mostly on ashtami.
Sometimes they put the garbo on head and dance in owe of Maa. So it was also called as raas-garba.
The Garbo used to have 9 holes and simply made of terracotta (now the potters make many holes and decorated because they don't know the sole purpose) as a symbol of 9 dwars of our body 2 eyes, 2 ears,2 nostrils,1 mouth 1 anus,1 genitelia. These 9 dwars are that from where our soul will depart when we will die.
On Navratri, to attain Moksha, people pray to Maa to find and open the 10th dwar which is called "brahmarandhra" and it can attain by immense yog sadhnaa and divine bhakti. If any soul has found it, it will get moksha.
This scenario was till 60s and 70s as my mother says. There was still the essence maintained. There were only authentic traditional music instruments being used like dhol,treble,tabla. They used to only clap in garba. These were called Prachin Raas. Snapping fingers was considerd as Arvachin raas. There were always used to different competitions between prachin and arvachin. Prachin used to be considered as tough one.Ã
After that around mid 80s 90s it became like dance programme. Authentic traditional music instruments were replaced by Western musical instruments. Dance steps changed. Movies started influencing.
And then came the Millennium.Everything was changed. Every Kaliyuga things entered in the divine purpose of Navratri. Bollywood music and steps ruined it. It has become merely a dance form that too not in original form. Raas garba is a folk dance but it has become bollywood.
Sadly Navratri has become a kind of sunburn festival of Goa with drinks, dance, party and that\'s why you hear jokes about abortions increase during this time because Navratri is no more a devotional festival anymore.
I entirely blame Gujaratis for it. They couldn't preserve the essence of Navratri. They didn't oppose thebollywood makers on how they portrayed Gujarati culture very wrongly. People outside Gujarat believe that Navratri is merely a dance festival. Because of bollywood movies they don\'t know the real culture of how a Gujarati celebrate the Navratri at home. Today\'s parents of teenagers in their 40s (+) wouldn't even know the importance of Navratri, they are also to be blamed.
I thank to Prabhu,my Guru ji and parents for the gyaan about dharma they imparted in me. Please pardon my ignorance if any.
Thank you. Ambe Maat ki Jai.