Punjabi culture is the epitome of life in the Punjab region of Pakistan. The culture itself dates back decades and is very rich. It comprises of written literature, arts, cuisine, military warfare, traditions, architecture and spoken language. The scope, density and history of its culture are rather vast.
A person who resides in the region of Punjab and is also a speaker of the Punjabi language is considered a Punjabi. The language itself is spoken all over the world by about 100 to 150 million people. In Canada it is the 4th most spoken language.
In the middle ages the Punjabi culture was limited to an individual’s community, caste and village. That is not the case today. The Punjabi culture is spread everywhere like religion. It is more prominent in parts in India and Pakistan.
Punjabi people are fun loving and warm hearted and are more likely to celebrate each and every tradition and festival.
Punjabi music and dance
The most prominent musical art form in Punjabi culture is the Bhangra and it is slowly taking over the mainstream music industry. Due to its long history, different dance forms have emerged and developed. The dances are mostly performed during festivals or celebrations and weddings being the most prominent stage for Punjabi people to show their dance talents. The background of these dances is both religious and non-religious. The style of dance can range from reserved to high energy. The most popular Punjabi dances are Sammi Dhamal, Dankara Julli, Ludhi and Bhangra.
The most popular dish in Punjabi cuisine is Tandoori chicken. Punjabi cuisine has a wide variety of dishes and the food is so popular that many big restaurant tycoons have invested in Punjabi cuisine and built large personal fortunes. One common ingredient between all Punjabi dishes is the liberal use of clarified butter, spices and ghee.
Punjabi people celebrate numerous festivals including religious festivals such as Eid-Milad-Un-Nabi and Lalat-ul-Qadar etc. Another spring festival which is celebrated with zeal and zest is Basant (kite flying).
Punjabi language and literature
Punjabi language in Pakistan is written with the Shahmukhi alphabet which is very similar to the Urdu alphabet. Punjabi is considered as an Indo-Aryan language. Major Punjabi dialects include Maghi, Ravchnavi or Jhangochi, Shahpuri, Potowari and Hindko.
Three Punjabi romantic epic poems based on folk love stories are very popular.Heer Ranjha by the poet Waris Shah, Mirza Sahiban and Sohni Mahiwal. These three poems give a vivid insight into the Punjabi culture. Among the famous Punjabi poets are Bulleh Shah, Baba Guru Nanak and Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar.
The traditional dress for Punjabi was Punjabi Ghagra which is replaced by salwarsuit and the Patiala salwar is very popular too. The traditional dress for Punjabi men is the tehmat and kurta which is now being replaced by the kurta and pajama.
The Punjabi culture has deep roots in Sufism. Sufi saints spread the message of Islam by living their lives in line with the Islamic way. The followers of these saints arrange fairs and festivals to pay tribute to them. The fairs and festivals showcase cultural traditions and folk life. The fairs held at the Sufi saints shrines are commonly known as Urs and are mostly held on the death anniversary of these saints.