Bhangra is one of the most significant traditions of the Punjabi culture because it symbolizes the imagination, talent, potential and charisma of Punjab’s people. Illustrating the sowing of seeds, hoeing, cutting of wheat and the selling of crops in the beautiful choreography, this folk dance remains popular within the villages of the Gujranwalla, Gujrat, Shekhpura, Sialkot and Gurdaspur districts. Simple but vigorous, bhangra is a dance of enthusiasm and gaiety.
Bhangra is a traditional and lively form of folk dance which originated from Punjab. People in Punjab traditionally perform Bhangra while celebrating the harvest. During Bhangra, people sing Punjabi Boliyaan lyrics, at least one person plays the the dhol drum, and other people may play the flute, dholak drum, or other musical instruments. While Bhangra began as a part of harvest festival celebrations, it eventually became a part of such diverse occasions as weddings and New Year celebrations.
Bhangra became popular in Britain in the 1980s and the artists of Bhangra were selling over 30,000 cassettes a week in the UK even though not one of the artists made their way into the Top 40 UK Chart. Bhangra is also popular in Canada where singer, Jazzy B sold over 55,000 copies of his third album, Folk and Funky and became one of the best-selling Punjabi folk artists in the world.
Bhangra folk dance and music of the Punjab and the popular music genre which emerged from it in the mid-to-late 20th century. Today the newer bhangra blends various Western popular musics with the original Punjabi tradition. Bhangra enjoys an immense following in South Asia and within the South Asian diaspora. The celebration in India of Harvest and the Baisakhi Festival begins with the dance steps known as Bhangra. This tradition has been followed since 1947 – the year when India became Independent.
Source of Inspiration:-
Bhangra dances differ from region to region and still retain their own unique identities. The term Bhangra has come to incorporate a whole host of these dance forms including Jhumar, Luddi, Giddha, Julli, Daankara, Dhamal, Saami, Kikli, and Gatka. The dancers sing the chorus of the song whilst dancing around the drum, or dhol, which sets the unique beat of the dance.
The dresses that are worn during a Bhangra performance are very bright, bold and colorful to symbolize the joyful and celebratory nature of the occasion. Since there is a lot of movement associated with this dance form, it is very important that the dresses allow the dancers to move freely. This is why the clothing worn by the dancers are loose fitting so as to ensure that body movement isn’t constricted. Bright shades generally mean different things.
For example, Yellow is used to symbolize sarson or mustard, green symbolizes prosperity and red/saffron symbolize the auspicious occasion itself.The wearing of the turban by male dancers is very important as it represents the pride as well as honor of the people of Punjab. Women wear long flowing clothes as well as fine jewelry for elegance and grace.
Folk Dances of Punjab:-
More folk dances of Punjab Giddha, Jhumar, Luddi, Dhamal, Sammi, Jaago, Teeyan, Dankara, Kikli, Gatka, Malwai Giddha, Jalli.
The influence of Bhangra can be easily seen in Bollywood, however, it has reached a far wider audience. Moreover, the traditional moves of the Bhangra have been taken to global platforms like America’s Got Talent along with these vibrant costumes, without which Bhangra wouldn’t be what it is. The costumes help the larger audience identify the dance even before the performance has started.
Bhangra Dress For Men:-
Turla – (fan like adornment on the turban)
Pag – (turban, a sign of pride/honor in Punjab): This is tied different to the traditional type of turban that you can see Sikh’s wearing in the street. The turban has to be tied before each show, and is not ready made like a hat.
Kaintha – (necklace), some men also wear earrings
Kurta – Similar to a silk shirt, with about 4 buttons, very loose with embroidered patterns.
Lungi or Chadar – This is a loose loincloth tied around the dancer’s waist. Again it would be decorated.
Jugi – A waistcoat, with no buttons.
Rammal – These are essentially scarves worn on the fingers. They look very elegant and effective when the hands move during the course of bhangra performance.
Bhangra Dress For Women:-
Dupatta – (chunni or scarf): This is heavily embroidered in a gidda costume.
Kameez – (shirt)
Salwaar – (baggy pants)
Tikka – (jewellery on the forehead)
Jhumka – (long dangling earrings)
Paranda – (braid tassle)
Suggi-Phul – (worn on head)
Raani-Haar – (a long necklace made of solid gold)
Haar–Hamela – (gem-studded golden necklace)
Baazu-Band – (worn around upper-arm)
Pazaibs – (anklets)
Instruments used in Bhangra:-
Sarangi, Dafli, Tumbi or Ektar, Dholak, Chimpta, Dhol and Damaru The traditional Bhangra consists of lively vivacious music with a distinct Dhol beat which gets people moving involuntarily.
Interesting Fact of Bhangra:-
The traditional Bhangra dancing can be seen in various regions such as Sialkot village, Gurdaspur district, Punjab India and Punjab Pakistan.
The music is maintained based on the local beats of the drum. The folk song dhola will be sung during the performance of the dance.
The Bhangra dance is wonderful in Pakistan. Now it is performed not only during the harvest season, but also in various occasions.
In 1954, the first performance of free from traditional Bhangra took place.
The Bhangra has been performed at 10 Downing Street at the behest of the British Prime Minister.
Free Style Bhangra is a new style of Bhangra which fuses traditional Bhangra with western dance music.
Video on Bhangra:-