The People of Punjab are friendly, hospitable, hardworking and enjoy living. They take to the entertainment of various types including folk dances, listening to Punjabi songs and music, playing competitive games and watching Hindi and Punjabi movies. They especially take to entertainment after harvests, when they have more time and there is a very definite reason to rejoice. Though they are hard working and concerned about their future and that of their families but they take each day as it comes and enjoy it fully. This makes them a very different creed and also makes other people envious of them. Not that they care, what the others think but they are inwardly very humble and sensitive to others. They are confident, daring and hold a very high self-esteem.
Punjabis are very brave people and very proudly defend the Indian borders with China and Pakistan. They fought and laid their lives fighting for their motherland against both Pakistan and China. The parents of the martyred sons hold their heads high and are thoroughly convinced that there could not have been a better reason to die. Punjabi soldiers also fought very bravely during the World Wars I and II. If the English were to be asked what was the most contributing reason for their victory – they would undeniably say the Punjabis were on their side.
Most Punjabi songs relate to romance and are full of melody and humor. The sad songs are also sung but most relate to the newly wed girl leaving her home to go to her in-law’s place to live. The beats of the drum and the rhythm of the steel spoon makes the whole thing vibrant with music.
The traditional sources of mass entertainment have been folk dances. These dances play to the tune of dholak. The performers dance to the beat of the drums and the rhythm of the steel spoon on the dholak, though the style is simple yet it adds vibrancy to the music. The other dance styles that are very Punjabi are Giddha, Kikli and Sammi. These dance styles are performed by the women.
In Punjab, it goes without saying that in happy get-togethers and festivals, men and women must perform the traditional Punjabi folk dances. Bhangra means loud drumming of the Dholak; Giddha is a women variant and they lyrically sing and dance to the Bolis. Other dance forms are Jhumar, Dhankara and Gatka. Dancing in Punjab cuts across the age groups, genders and castes and Punjabis choose to express their happiness through it. Songs at the wedding range from emotional interludes to very peppy beats.
Punjab being largely an agrarian state, the rural lifestyles have a deep influence on its culture. Most Punjabi music and songs have either originated from the rural Punjab or have strong rural flavors. Punjabi culture also has strong overtones of cultures like Mughal, Persian and Anglo-Saxon, which invaded the Punjabi ways of life over the large five to six hundred years. The Punjabi culture has also been greatly influenced by the Sikh religion, especially Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who was also the first Sikh guru. Much of the Punjabi lifestyles and especially that of the Sikhs is the manifestation of the preaching of the Sikh gurus, especially the last guru – Guru Gobind Singh ji.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh is credited for consolidating the Sikh empire and also the Sikh culture. He established the first Sikh kingdom and that gave a distinct identity to Sikhs and their way of life. The Sikh culture, since the partition has been driving the Punjabi culture.
Women have been playing a very active role in developing the Punjabi culture. They are more than just housewives and help their husbands in different occupations to contribute to the household earnings- this includes agriculture, making earthen potteries etc.
Punjabi cuisine has an immense range of dishes and has become a world-leader in the field. The more popular dishes are Tandoori Chicken, Tikka, Sarson da Saag, Naans and now Amritsari Kulchas. Amritsar is now the food capital of Punjabi Food.
Men in the rural Punjab wear traditional Kurta Pyjama, however, those living in the cities wear pants and jeans. Women prefer salwar kameez both in the cities and villages, however, the younger lots have taken to more fashionable designs. The women on occasions also wear lehenga- kurta.
Phulkari is the native fabric design of Punjab. There is a riot of colors in Phulkari Dupattas and women are inclined to wear them during different festivals including Baisakhi.
Chic Wall (chicwall.in) has been contributing for the last few years to the Punjabi Culture more specifically to art, creating illustrations (Punjabi Culture Oil Paintings) that depict the culture both in the rural and urban Punjab. It also created oil paintings of Sikh Gurus and saints that the Punjabi families have proudly hung on their walls giving a very spiritual effect to their home ambience.