In this blog, I am going to take you on a journey through the beautiful culture of Punjab courtesy of our friends at the Rotaract Club of Mohali. The majority religion practiced in Punjab is Sikhism and there are five Gurudwaras (or places of worship) in Sikhism known as the Panj Takht, translating into the Five Thrones. These sites hold the utmost importance in Sikh culture and are places of assembly and worship for Sikhs. They are also welcome to people from all faiths without discrimination. Three out of these five holy sites are situated in Punjab, namely the Akal Takht Sahib, situated in the world-famous complex of the Golden Temple in Amristar, Takht Sri Kesgar Sahib in Anandpur and the Sri Damdama Sahib in Bathinda.
When we delve deeper into Punjabi culture we can learn about their two main cultural festivals. The first of these is known as Baisakhi and is celebrated on the 13th or 14th of April each year, very much like the Sinhalese and Tamil new year. It is a harvesting festival and also commemorates the dawn of the new solar year. Secondly, there is Lohri, celebrated on the 13th of January. It marks the end of winter and a traditional welcome of longer days and the sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere. It is traditionally celebrated by lighting a bonfire in the night where a crowd gathers and enjoys the night together.
Further, Punjab is known worldwide for its traditional dances; the Bhangra and the Gidha. The Bhangra is associated with the dawn of the new year of Baisakhi as we stated previously, and it is associated with harvesting and also draws its name from one of the major products of the harvest- the bhang. The Gidha is also a popular dance for the women of the Punjabi region.
Now let’s stimulate our test buds by getting to know a bit about delicious Punjabi food. The cultural food of Punjab is called Makke di roti and Sarson da saag. The roti is made from maize flour making it a distinctive yellow in color, while saag is a side dish made from mustard greens with added spices.
That was certainly an illuminating journey down Punjabi culture and I would like to express my gratitude to the Rotaract Club of Mohali for giving us this opportunity to take a small peek into the wonderful culture of Punjab.
Rtr. Rahul Jeyanthan