Bhangra is one of the most popular and colourful folk dances of Punjab. Read on to know more about it…
It is a form of dance performed by men during Baisakhi to celebrate the period of harvest. The dance form has a lot of feet movements on the beats of drums known as ‘dhol’. It has an extremely lively tone and the vivacious dance accompanying it matches it well.
However, have you ever wondered where it originated? It is believed to have started in the 14th or 15th century. With the passage of time, it became a part of all major celebrations like festivals and weddings. It has spread to various parts of the country though it was prominent only in Gujranwala, Gurdaspur, Sialkot and Sheikhpur areas of Punjab in the beginning.
The dresses worn by the male and female dancers during Bhangra are quite different from each other although both are a reflection of the joyful celebration. The men dress up in ‘lungis’ and vibrant turbans, where the latter is mandatory as it represents the pride as well as honour of the people of Punjab. The clothes are loose fitting to ensure ease of movement while dancing.
What is interesting about the clothes is that every colour worn is symbolic. Yellow is used to symbolize mustard or ‘sarson’, green for prosperity and red/saffron for the auspicious occasion itself.
Women wear long flowing clothes along with fine jewellery that look graceful and elegant. The ‘chunni’ is a colourful scarf that is draped artfully around a woman’s head and pinned to her kurta and vest. The jewellery such as the earrings and necklaces attract attention to the dancer’s facial expressions. ‘Rumaalan’, or handkerchiefs, are traditionally tied around a dancer’s wrist to highlight their complex hand movements. The Bhangra dress is quite colourful and a lot like the clothes that they wear on a regular basis.
The largest Bhangra dance performed so far had over 21,000 participants in Ludhiana, India. It has spread to a lot of countries and has crept its way to America’s Got Talent, the London Olympics, and also the White House!