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2019-06-25 16:43:03

Sarson da saag, popular vegetable dish of the Punjabi people.

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 the popularity of Punjabi cuisine throughout the world. Punjabi cuisine uses unique spices.[125] The Punjabi cuisine has become popular in the world, not only due to its intrinsic quality but, due to the fact that the Punjabi diaspora is very much visible in the western world especially, the UK, Canada and the U.S. The popular dishes are Butter Chicken, Tandoori chicken, Dal makhni, chicken tikka lababdar, Saron da saag and stuffed or un stuffed naans (a type of unleavened bread).


Bhangra describes dance-oriented popular music with Punjabi rhythms, developed since the 1980s. The name refers to one of the traditional and folkloric Punjabi dances. Bhangra music is appreciated all over the globe. Sufi music and Qawali are other important genres in Punjab.[126][127]


Owing to the long history of the Punjabi culture and of the Punjabi people, there are a large number of dances normally performed at times of celebration, the time of festivals known as Melas and the most prominent dances are at Punjabi weddings, where the elation is usually particularly intense. Punjabi dances are performed either by men or by women. The dances range from solo to group dances and also sometimes dances are done along with musical instruments like Dhol, Flute, Supp, Dhumri, Chimta etc. Other common dances that both men and women perform are Karthi, Jindua, and Dandass.[128] "Bhangra" dance is the most famous aspect of Punjabi dance tradition. Its popularity has attained a level where a music is produced with the intent of aiding people to carry out this form of dancing.

Wedding traditions

Punjabi wedding traditions and ceremonies are conducted in Punjabi, and are a strong reflection of Punjabi culture. Many local songs are a part of the wedding and are known as boliyan.[129] While the actual religious marriage ceremony among Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains may be conducted in Arabic, Punjabi, Sanskrit, by the Kazi, Pandit or Granthi, there are also many commonalities in ritual, song, dance, food, make-up and dress.

The Punjabi wedding has many rituals and ceremonies that have evolved since traditional times. Punjabi receptions of all sorts are known to be very energetic, filled with loud Bhangra music, people dancing, and a wide variety of Punjabi food.

Folk tales

The folk tales of Punjab include many stories[130] which are passing through generations and includes folk stories like Heer Ranjha, Mirza Sahiban,[131] Sohni Mahiwal etc. to name a few.


Vaisakhi, Jashan-e-Baharan, Basant, Kanak katai da mela ( Wheat cutting celebrations ) and many more. The jagrātā, also called jāgā or jāgran, means an all night vigil. This type of vigil is found throughout India and is usually held to worship a deity with song and ritual. The goal is to gain the favour of the Goddess, to obtain some material benefit, or repay her for one already received. The Goddess is invoked by the devotees to pay them a visit at the location of the jagrātā, whether it be in their own homes or communities, in the form of a flame.[132]

Traditional dress


A Dastaar is an item of headgear associated with Sikhi and is an important part of the Punjabi and Sikh culture. The symbolic article of the nation represents honour, self-respect, courage, spirituality, and piety. Wearing a Sikh dastaar, or turban, is mandatory for all Amritdhari (initiated) Sikh men and women. In ancient times, two Punjabis would exchange their turbans to show friendship towards each other. Prior to Sikhi, only kings, royalty, and those of high stature wore turbans.[133]

Punjabi suit

A Punjabi suit that features three items - a qameez (top), salwar (bottom) and dupatta (scarf)[134] is the traditional female attire of the Punjabi people.[135] A qameez is a usually loose-fitted outer garment from upper thigh to mid-calf length. Along with the qameez, Punjabi women wear a salwaar that consists of long trousers drawn at the waist and tapered to the ankle.[136] The other complementary feature of the Punjabi suit is the dupatta; often used to cover the chest and head.[136] Among the Punjabi people, the dupatta has long been a symbol of modesty.[137]

Kurta Pajama

A Kurta pajama that comprises two items - a kurta (top) and pajama (bottom) is the traditional male attire of the Punjabi people.


Various types of sports are played in Punjab. They are basically divided into outdoor and indoor sports. Special emphasis is put to develop both the mental and physical capacity while playing sports. That is why recently sports like Speed reading, Mental abacus, historical and IQ tests are arranged as well. Indoor sports are specially famous during the long summer season in Punjab. Also indoor sports are played by children in homes and in schools. Gilli-danda is vary famous indigenous sports among children along with Parcheesi. Pittu Garam is also famous among children. Stapu is famous among young girls of Punjab. Also many new games are included with the passage of time. The most notable are Carrom, Ludo (board game), Scrabble, Chess, Draughts, Go, Monopoly. The Tabletop games games include billiards and snooker. Backgammon locally known as Dimaagi Baazi( Mental game) is famous in some regions as well.

The outdoor sports include Kusti (a wrestling sport), Kabaddi, Rasa Kashi (Tug Of War), Patang (Kite Flying) and Naiza Baazi or Tent pegging (a cavalry sport).Gatka, is also taken as a form of sports. Punjab being part of the Indian subcontinent, the sport of cricket is very popular. New forms of sports are also being introduced and adopted in particular by the large overseas Punjabis, such as Ice hockey, Soccer, Boxing, Mixed martial arts, Rugby union as part of the globalisation of sports.

Notable people

See also

  • Dialects of the Punjab
  • Punjabi press
  • Punjabi cuisine



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References and further reading

  • Mohini Gupta, Encyclopaedia of Punjabi Culture & History – Vol. 1 (Window on Punjab) [Hardcover], ISBN 978-81-202-0507-9
  • Iqbal Singh Dhillion, Folk Dances of Punjab ISBN 978-81-7116-220-8
  • Punjabi Culture: Punjabi Language, Bhangra, Punjabi People, Karva Chauth, Kila Raipur Sports Festival, Lohri, Punjabi Dhabha, ISBN 978-1-157-61392-3
  • Kamla C. Aryan, Cultural Heritage of Punjab ISBN 978-81-900002-9-1
  • Shafi Aqeel, Popular Folk Tales from the Punjab ISBN 978-0-19-547579-1
  • Online Book of Punjabi Folk Tales,
  • Colloquial Panjabi: The Complete Course for Beginners (Colloquial Series) ISBN 978-0-415-10191-2
  • Gilmartin, David. Empire and Islam: Punjab and the Making of Pakistan. Univ of California Press (1988), ISBN 0-520-06249-3.
  • Grewal, J.S. and Gordon Johnson. The Sikhs of the Punjab (The New Cambridge History of India). Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (1998), ISBN 0-521-63764-3.
  • Latif, Syed. History of the Panjab. Kalyani (1997), ISBN 81-7096-245-5.
  • Sekhon, Iqbal S. The Punjabis : The People, Their History, Culture and Enterprise. Delhi, Cosmo, 2000, 3 Vols., ISBN 81-7755-051-9.
  • Singh, Gurharpal. Ethnic Conflict in India : A Case-Study of Punjab. Palgrave Macmillan (2000).
  • Singh, Gurharpal (Editor) and Ian Talbot (Editor). Punjabi Identity: Continuity and Change. South Asia Books (1996), ISBN 81-7304-117-2.
  • Singh, Khushwant. A History of the Sikhs – Volume 1.Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-562643-5
  • Steel, Flora Annie. Tales of the Punjab : Told by the People (Oxford in Asia Historical Reprints). Oxford University Press, USA; New Ed edition (2002), ISBN 0-19-579789-2.
  • Tandon, Prakash and Maurice Zinkin. Punjabi Century 1857–1947, University of California Press (1968), ISBN 0-520-01253-4.
  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website Pakistan, India
  • DNA boundaries in South and Southwest Asia, BMC Genetics 2004, 5:26
  • Ethnologue Eastern Panjabi
  • Ethnologue Western Panjabi
  • Pakistan Census
  • Kivisild, T; Rootsi, S; Metspalu, M; Mastana, S; Kaldma, K; Parik, J; Metspalu, E; Adojaan, M; Tolk, H. V; Stepanov, V; Gölge, M; Usanga, E; Papiha, S. S; Cinnioğlu, C; King, R; Cavalli-Sforza, L; Underhill, P. A; Villems, R (2003). "The Genetic Heritage of the Earliest Settlers Persists Both in Indian Tribal and Caste Populations" (PDF). Am. J. Hum. Genet. 72 (2): 313–332. doi:10.1086/346068. PMC 379225. PMID 12536373. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 February 2006.
  • Talib, Gurbachan (1950). Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947. India: Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.Online 1 Online 2 Online 3 (A free copy of this book can be read from any 3 of the included "Online Sources" of this free "Online Book")
  • The Legacy of The Punjab by R. M. Chopra, 1997, Punjabee Bradree, Calcutta.
  • Glimpses of Punjabi society and everyday life in Punjab villages

External links

  • Media related to Punjabi people (ethnic group) at Wikimedia Commons