Punjab has a distinct and rich cultural heritage and hence Punjabis have a distinct identity across the world.
Punjab is a very rich state regarding the styles and number of folk dances that you can find here. It has many different varieties of folk dances including Bhangra and Giddha among the most prominent and popular. Not to miss out on a good thing these days, many non-Punjabis also get into the spirit and fun of the folk dances of Punjab, as you sometimes see a European, African or Chinese face in different Bhangra competitions. Such non-Punjabis made Punjabi dance literally part of their own local culture.
The Punjab people’s exuberance and enthusiasm are strongly displayed in their folk dances. The steps are full of speech, movements, verbal comments, movement subtleties, and uninhibited liberation-it’s a heart dance! With the drumbeat or the rhythm of some other folk music instrument, the lively feet of the Punjab people are spontaneously set to give up resistance and instantly give birth to a folk dance- an expression of the victorious soul; an explosion of emotions; a sudden release of energy. Punjab dances are the direct representation of the energy and enthusiasm of Punjab’s vibrant youth. Folk dances of Punjab are full of foreign influences. It is only in Punjab where men and women don’t have the dance.
Bhangra was originally dedicated to harvesting but later changed its shape with some modernization, changing musical equipment and evolving dancing patterns. Bhangra’s energy with a traditional Punjabi Dhol and Jhanjhar has gradually become popular across all Indian states.
Bhangra outfit is Lungi and buttonless jacket. The dancers also use different-color handkerchiefs. Wearing Pug (turban), a sign of Punjabi pride. Women perform it with traditional Salwar-Kameez and Chunni, often wears male dancers.
Giddha is played by Punjab’s young women. The dance is a show of women’s vigor and vitality and has a colorful atmosphere. It is not limited to any particular times, either. The dance can be performed on any social event. The costume is common household stuff with a few light decorations. Giddha’s dance style jerks the shoulders and bends the lower body segment. Clapping helps the dance as a musical instrument as well. The dance uses no instrumental music.
Performed in a large circle, Giddha’s singing is called “Boli or Biloyan,” usually utilizing emotional expressions. The dance is a family show with all the women making a beautiful presentation with regular singing and dancing.
Jhoomer is known for his passion and vivacity. It originated from the regions Balochistan and Multan. The dance is slow and rhythmic in tempo. The word Jhumur derives from “Jhoom” which means swaying gently. The performances usually focus on love and other emotions. The “ecstasy move” is also sometimes referred to as in the show, the dance recreates animal movements, field plowing, seed sowing, harvesting, and other such activities.
Other forms of Jhumar exist, such as Satluj Jhumar, Chenab Jhumar, Beas Jhumar, and Multani Jhumar. This dance is very popular among Punjab folk dances and is known for its grace and elegance in particular.
Malawi Giddha is one of Punjab’s popular folk dances mostly performed by the region’s bachelors. It emerged in areas such as the districts Bathinda, Muktsar, Ferozpur, Faridkot, Mansa, Sangrur and Patiala. The dance uses a wide range of musical instruments, such as Chimta / tongs, which is the traditional musical percussion instrument of South Asia, often used in well-liked Punjabi Giddha and Bhangra music. A further instrument used in the performance is Dholaki.
This dance is done by Muslim holy men Juli, called pirs. They usually dance in hermitages (khangas). The dance is performed as people sit. Sometimes, they dance around the grave of the preceptor. The dancer normally wears black.
Traditionally Sammi women from the Sandalbar area perform Sammi, now in Pakistan. The dancers dress in brightly colored kurtas and full-flowing lehengas dresses. The dance is synonymous with a specific silver hair decoration.
Often known as the Gatka dance, this is a holiday dance. Two guys, each carrying colorful staves, dance around each other in unison with the drums and tap their sticks together. The dance is often a part of a marriage celebration.
Luddi: This is a disco of triumph, where people make different head movements. The costume is a loose, plain shirt. The dancers put their backs on one side, and their faces on the other. The movement of the body is sinuous and like a snake. There’s a guitarist in the dance room as well.