Gujaratis are people that originate from the state called Gujarat in the western region of India. Its a flourishing state with cultural diversity. It is vibrant with its true colors of rich heritage, art and cultural traditions. Famous Gujaratis include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dhirubhai Ambani, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Virchand Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Vikram Sarabhai.
In the words of early european traveller Ludovico di Varthema (15th century):
...a certain race which eats nothing that has blood, never kills any living things... and these people are neither moors nor heathens... if they were baptized, they would all be saved by the virtue of their works, for they never do to others what they would not do unto them.
Gujaratis in United States: Gujaratis attained prominence as merchants and hoteliers, and over 40% of the hospitality industry in the United States is controlled by Gujaratis in the 21st century. As time passed, the offspring of the initial Gujaratis have also made high levels of advancement into professional fields, including as physicians, engineers, and lawyers.
- Foodie for sure: You can eat some great Gujarati cuisine! In snacks be ready for some spicy and fried dishes., Khakra, Dhokla, Faafda, Paatra. They are as heavy as they sound. You will feel the oil going down your throat and the meal will probably clog your arteries, but it’s worth it. Jokes apart, traditionally Gujaratis eat dal-bhaat-saak-rotli (pulse-rice-vegetables-bread) as everyday meals. When summertime rolls around, Gujarati folks love mangos! You can try keri no rus (fresh mango pulp)! Yum! Also, Gujarati moms will feed you until your stomach seems to explode. (A few minutes later without any shame, she will comment on your waistline.) They’re also very generous in the sense that they will always pack all the friends some food to go.
- Dancing and clapping: No party is over without a Garba or Dandiya raas. Garba is a traditional Guajarati dance with a lot of clapping and turning around, while dandiya raas is a dance with sticks. Both are high-level energy dances for the Gujarati folks! Most of the time, you’ll hear your Gujarati friends complaining of being tired after walking for more than 15 minutes or have tendency of using the elevator rather than stairs. Well, don’t be too quick to judge their energy levels. These are the same people who will be able to dance to both garba and raas all night long without complaining of being tired during wedding season and Navratri.
- Outfits: Ladies can easily borrow traditional Chaniya choli, a 3 piece outfit consisting of choli(blouse), chaniya(skirt) and odhni(long scarf). Male dress consist of Chorno (cotton drawers), Kediyu(short frill shirt covering upper part of the body) and phento (layered turban). These outfits are usually decorated with beads, mirrors, and embroidery work. A saree can also be worn in Gujarati style for a photogenic photo shoot.
- Bargaining skills: Gujaratis have PhD in bargaining, the moment they are born. A must have with you in your shopping spree. Whether it’s online or in stores, you can trust that your friend is not going to stop until you get some sort of discount, coupon, deal, steal, or something in between.
- Gujarati words: Being with your Gujarati friend, you will definitely learn some Gujarati words, “Kemcho” (How are you?) and “Aavjo(Bye, see you gain). The more you hangout with your Gujarati friend you will start to pick up more words, phrases and sentences. Believe me, its easy to learn Gujarati.
- Gossip and drama: Your Gujarati friend will always have some sort of gossip and/or drama to share. It’s always fun to hear about it because most of the time, it is all nonsense and silly issues turning into big things.
- Forever Food Supplies: Gujaratis are never short of their home-food supply. Your Gujarati friend will have enough stock while travelling too, especially yummy “Theplas” (spicy indian bread) with “Choonda” (grated raw mango pickle)
- Great Gujarati weddings – Did I say lavish weddings! These tend to be 3-day events! You can have an amazing experience from attending a Gujarati wedding. You’ll have the honor of seeing the groom come on a white horse, more than 500 people, awesome food, amazing dance music, and uncles and aunties breaking it down on the dance floor!
- Free tutor: Be it Science, Maths or management, your Gujarati friend is always ready to help. Gujaratis take pride in giving gyan.
- Social reach will multiply many folds: Between extended family members and friends of friends, Gujarati folks tend to know a lot of people. They even tend to keep in touch with their 2nd and 3rd cousins. Most importantly, it show how family oriented your friend can be. (Meaning? You’re going to have a friend for )