Punjabi Culture

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Sher-A-E Punjab, Distinguished

Punjabi Culture is the culture of the Punjab region. It is one of the oldest and richest cultures in world history, dating from ancient antiquity to the modern era. The Punjabi Culture is the culture of the Punjabi people who are now distributed throughout the world. The scope, history, sophistication and complexity of the culture are vast. Some of the main areas include, Punjabi Philosophy, poetry, spirituality, education, artistry, music, cuisine, science, technology, military warfare, architecture, traditions, values and history.

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Bhangra is one of the many Punjabi musical art forms that is increasingly being listened to in the west and is becoming a mainstream favourite. Punjabi music is being used by western musicians, in many ways, such as mixing it with other compositions to produce award-winning music. In addition, Punjabi Classical music is increasingly becoming popular in the west. Tandoori chicken is a popular dish in Punjabi cuisine. Punjabi Cuisine has an immense range of dishes and has become world-leader in the field so much so that many entrepreneurs that have invested in the sector have built large personal fortunes due to popularity of Punjabi Cuisine throughout the world. Punjabi Poetry is renowned for its extremely deep meaning, beautiful, exciting and hopeful use of words. The poetry is one of the clearest views into the Punjabi mindset. The large number of Punjabi poetry works is being translated throughout the world into many languages. Famous Punjabi poets. Punjabi Dances, due to the long history of the Punjabi culture and of the Punjabi people there is a large number of dances. These dances are normally performed at times of celebration, including harvests, festivals, and weddings.

The particular background of the dances can be non-religious and religious. The overall style can range from the high energy “Bhangra” men’s dance to the more reserved “Jhumar,” the “Gidha” women’s dance, etc. Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are traditionally conducted in Punjabi and are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. While the actual religious marriage ceremony, among Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains may be conducted in Arabic, Punjabi, Sanskrit, by the Qazi, Pundit, Granthi or Priest. There are commonalities in ritual, song, dance, food, dress. The Punjabi wedding has many rituals and ceremonies that have evolved since traditional times. Some Of Its Artifacts Are As Follows:- Phulkari:- It is an embroidery technique from the Punjab in India and Pakistan literally means flower working, which was at one time used as the word for embroidery, but in time the word “Phulkari” became restricted to embroidered shawls and head scarfs. Simple and sparsely embroidered odini (head scarves) and shawls, made for everyday use, are called Phulkaris, whereas garments that cover the entire body, made for special and ceremonial occasions, are known as Baghs (“garden”). Phulkaris and Baghs were worn by women all over Punjab during marriage festivals and other joyous occasions. They were embroidered by the women for their own use and use of other family members and were not for sale in the market.

Thus, it was purely a domestic art which not only satisfied their inner urge for creation but brought colour into day to day life. In a way, it was true folk art. Custom had grown to give Phulkaris and Baghs to brides at the time of marriages. Some best Phulkaris and Baghs are known to have been made in Hazara and Chakwal, areas of Northern Punjab in Pakistan. The main characteristics of Phulkari embroidery are use of darn stitch on the wrong side of coarse cotton cloth with coloured silken thread. Punjabi women created innumerable alluring and interesting designs and patterns by their skilful manipulation of the darn stitch. The base khaddar cloth used in Western Punjab is finer from those of Central Punjab. Black/blue is not preferred in Western Punjab, whereas white is not used in East Punjab. In West Punjab, 2 or 3 pieces of cloth are first folded and joined together. In East Punjab, they are joined together first and then embroidered. In Phulkari embroidery ornaments the cloth, whereas in Bagh, it entirely covers the garment so that the base cloth is not visible. The end portion of pallav of Phulkari have separated panels of exquisite workmanship of striking design. Madhani:- Madhani is a matka in which a thick stik is there and a rope is tied around in such a way that when d rope ends are pulled subsequently it can churn whatever is put in the matka, basically the madhani is used to make lassi, butter & chach. Fresh milk is put in the matka and churned, the first extract is lassi and when churned more forcefully the butter is made and the residue left is called chach. Uses:- Lassi is the most famous and favourite drink of Punjabis, basically the lassi is supposed to be had in breakfast.

The sancity of Punjabi culture is quite attached to lassi. It is served in all the auspicious occasions of Punjabis. The butter churned out of lassi is white in colour and is not pasteurized and can be used with various foods. Chach is very helpful in the recovery of jaundice patients and can be had at any time of the day. Madhani is a traditional at still used regularly in all village homes of Punjab. Punjabi women are supposed churn the madhani. Dhol:- The dhol is a double-sided barrel drum (straight barrels also exist) played mostly as an accompanying instrument in regional music forms. In Qawwali music, the term dhol is used to describe a similar, but smaller drum used with the smaller tabla, as a replacement for the left hand tabla drum. The typical sizes of the drum vary slightly from region to region. In Punjab, the dhol remains large and bulky to produce the preferred loud bass. In other regions, dhols can be found in varying shapes and sizes and made with different woods and materials (fiberglass, Steel, Plastic). The drum consists of a wooden barrel with animal hide or synthetic skin stretched over its open ends, covering them completely. These skins can be stretched or loosened with a tightening mechanism made up of either interwoven ropes, or nuts and bolts. Tightening or loosening the skins subtly alters the pitch of the drum sound.

The stretched skin on one of the ends is thicker and produces a deep, low frequency (higher bass) sound and the other thinner one produces a higher frequency sound. Dhols with synthetic, or plastic, treble skins are very common. The dhol has traditionally been a male instrument played generally by men, although more females are now playing. The most famous probably being Rani Taj, hailed as the best and most famous female dhol player in the world. The drum is played using two wooden sticks, usually made out of bamboo and cane wood. The most common rhythm played on the dhol is the Chaal, which consists of 8 beats per measure. The stick used to play the bass side of the drum is a bit thicker (roughly about 10 mm in diameter) and is bent in a quarter-circular arc on the end that strikes the drum, the dagga. The other stick is much thinner and flexible and used to play the higher note end of the drum, the thili. The drum is slung over the neck of the player with a strap usually made up of ropes or woven cloth. The surface of the wooden barrel is in some cases decorated with engraved or painted patterns. Dholak:- The drum is either played on the player’s lap or, while standing, slu

ng from the shoulder or waist. The shell is usually made from sheesham or shisham wood (Dalbergia sissoo). The process of hollowing out the drum (its resultant shape and the surface of the drum’s interior, whether left rough-hewn by a drum carver or carefully smoothed) determines the tone quality of a dholak. The dholak’s right-hand head is a simple membrane, while the left-hand head is of a greater diameter and has a special coating, a mixture of tar, clay and sand (dholak masala) which lowers the pitch. The high-pitched drum head may also be played using a thin (1/4″/6 mm or less) long (over 14″/30 cm) stick of solid rattan or hardwood (rattan is preferred for its flexibility), and the low-pitched drum head is played either by hand or using a somewhat thicker, semi-angled stick, roughly the shape of a small hockey stick.

The drum is pitched depending on size, with an interval of perhaps a perfect fourth or perfect fifth between the two heads. It is related to the larger Punjabi dhol and the smaller dholki. Similar drums with similar names are found elsewhere in western Asia. Indian children sing and dance to the beat of the dholak during pre-wedding festivities in many Indian communities. It is often used in Filmi Sangeet – Indian film music, in chutney music, baithak gana, and tan singing, the local Indian music of the Caribbean. It was brought by indentured immigrants to Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica. In the Fiji Islands the dholak is widely used for bhajans and kirtans. Chimta:- A chimta literally meaning tongs, is a traditional percussion instrument of South Asia, often used in popular Punjabi Bhangra music. The chimta consists of a long, flat folded piece of metal steel strip, often with 7 pairs of small metal jingles. The rings are plucked in a downward motion to produce tinkling sounds. It is also used for cooking chapati in almost every Indian home. Chimtas with large discs are used at rural festivals while ones with smaller discs are often used as an accompaniment to bhangra dancers and singers of traditional Indian hymns. The Late Alam Lohar is famous for playing this instrument and introducing it globally, today great musicians like Kamal Heer and Arif Lohar plays this instrument.

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Punjabi Culture. (2017, Sep 22). Retrieved December 9, 2023 , from

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