Punjabi culture, being one of the oldest and richest, its uniqueness is evident in its poetry, spirituality, philosophy, military, music, art, traditions, and values. Punjab is a land of religious diversity and has given birth to several religious movements including Sikhism, Buddhism, and a number of Islamic Sufi schools. It has one of the most eminent and esteemed cultures in the world.
One can never miss out on the high spiritedness and compassion in the lifestyle of Punjabis. The multi-hued heritage of the ancient civilizations gives it a touch of ethnic diversity. Punjab is well-known for its rich and distinguished culture while Punjabis are known for their strong determination all over the world.
Guests are considered as the representatives of God by the Punjabis and receive impeccable treatment from them. Their devotion to God is unparalleled. They believe that the only way to reach God is ‘Sewa’ that is helping the needy. Numerous campaigns are organized by them to help the poor and needy.
Religious and seasonal festivals like Lohri, Bandi Chor Diwas (Diwali), Vaisakhi, Mela Maghi, Hola Mohalla, etc. are grandly celebrated here. Moreover, they celebrate numerous anniversaries in the honour of the 10 Gurus, religious leaders of Sikhism. A classic feature of these festivals is expressing happiness through dance forms like Bhangra, Jhumar, and Sammi. Giddha, a traditional song and dance performance by women, is hard to miss on such occasions. Along with these, some other semi-classical Mughal forms – the khyal dance and vocal performances like qawwali, ghazal, thumri, etc are also popular.
The best way to deeply look into the Punjabi mindset is to read their poems. Punjabi poetry allows you to have the clearest view of their thoughts, values, and culture. Their poetries are renowned for their deep and beautiful meaning. These poems are translated into different languages and spread throughout the world. Guru Granth Sahib ji, the most important Punjabi literature, is worshipped and revered all over the world.
Traditionally, Punjabi men used to wear ‘Punjabi kurta’ and ‘Tehmat’ in the popular Muktsari style which has now been replaced by kurta and pajama. Punjabi women traditionally wore Punjabi Ghagra which has been replaced by the Punjabi Salwar Suit and Patiala Salwar in the modern days.
Punjabi cuisine has a diverse range of dishes. The one thing that remains constant in all the dishes is a large amount of Ghee used. Some popular dishes and drinks of Punjab include Sarson Da Saag, Makki di roti, Tandoori Chicken, Shami kebab, Pinni, Lassi, etc.
The city of Amritsar used to be popular for brass and copper metalwork by Thatheras of Jandiala Guru. Over the years, this craft has died out but the Government of Punjab is undertaking some efforts to revive the same.
Some social and cultural facts of Punjab include –
The holiest of the Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple, is located in Amritsar, Punjab.
Three out of five Takhts of Sikhism is located in Punjab – Akal Takht Sahib, Damdama Sahib, and Anandpur Sahib.
Punjab, having a literacy rate of 76.6%, is the 14th most literate state of India.
Amritsar, being one of the major tourist attractions of India, attracts more visitors than the Taj Mahal.
During the Medieval Ages, the culture of Punjab was extremely diverse. It was mainly dependent on the individual’s caste, religion, or community. Back then, the culture of Punjab was strongly dominated by the Indo-Aryan community. It was during the 15th and 16th centuries when Sikh culture gained its prosperity.
Due to the widespread displacement of Sikhs, traces of Punjabi culture can be seen in the Western World as well. People are largely getting influenced by the Sikhs who have settled themselves in abroad. Bhangra, one of the most renowned Punjabi dance forms, is increasingly gaining its popularity in the West and becoming the mainstream favourite of all.