These Garbas are performed in the cities where there is a substantial Gujarati Christian community, which includes Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Nadiad, Anand, Bharuch, Dahod, Valsad, Bhavnagar, and Gandhidham, as well as in some smaller towns such as Songadh, Devgadh Baria, and Jhagadiya. Shamianas are erected in church compounds and there is often a large stage for the live performances. Dressed in their finery, men and women dance for hours together.

Like Hindus, Gujarati Christians too have taken the tradition abroad. Selestie Alfons moved to Orange City in California in 2016 after her marriage. “It’s good to find that people here perform Christian Garbas during Christmas,” she said. “Of course, it’s not like home but still it’s good to do the Garba here.”

Vinod Christian, who lives in Ahmedabad, started writing Christian Garba songs, composing them and performing around “30 years ago.” He has penned around 60 such songs: “I have my own troupe and we perform during Christmas and weddings. Thousands of people participate in these events each year.”

For most Gujarati Christians, the dances have become more about enjoying a shared cultural experience. “Gujarati Christians perform the Garba, whether they are in New York, or Los Angeles,” said Umang Satyabhashak, who went to New York from Ahmedabad 22 years ago. Gohil agreed. “We can participate in the Garba along with our family and friends so it’s really great,” she said. “It’s a nice way of celebrating the birth of Lord Jesus but in our own cultural way.”

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