Dance is the skill of using body movements and gestures to express one’s heartfelt emotions with the accompaniment of music. All over the globe, there are unique styles of dance and the case is no different in the enthusiastic state of Punjab. The fun-loving and joyous Punjabis have several religious and folk dances that are indigenous to the state. The dance styles vary from energetic ones to reserved ones and specific dance forms for the women and men. Most dances are presented during celebrations such as weddings, Baisakhi and festivals like Lohri. On such joyous occasions, the married couples dance together. While the husband dances in one of Punjabi dance forms, the wife taps her feet to one of the traditional Punjabi dances for women.

Punjab is one of those regions that have a rich cultural history. The state has numerous dance forms which have evolved over time and are well-accepted in different parts of the world. The Bhangra and Giddha dance styles are adored globally and there are several competitions held in England and United States. This reflects how far the non-Punjabis have also embraced the Punjabi culture.

Folk Dances of Punjab

The high spirits of people of Punjab is clearly reflected in their folk dances. With the drum beat, men of Punjab automatically begin tapping their feet to celebrate. The folk dances of Punjab can be classified into 2 categories, male and female folk dances. The male dances include Bhangra, Luddi, Jhummer, Dhumal, Julli and Dankara. The female Punjabi dance forms are Giddha, Sammi, Jaago and Kikli.


Bhangra dance form is considered the “King of folk dances” in Punjab. Performed exclusively by the men during Baisakhi, it is one of the most captivating and energetic dance forms. This dance form was originally performed by the farmers during the harvest season. The energy and vitality of the dance, along with combination of acrobatic feats, tricks and ‘bolis’ like ‘balle balle’ and ‘Hoy Hoy’ are characteristic of Bhangra. The drummer usually stands in the middle and all the dancers surround him in a circle. On Baisakhi, April 13th, all farmers, traders, businessmen, engineers, teachers and other men perform Bhangra. The dance is now also performed on other occasions like weddings, festivals and birthdays.


Giddha dance form is the female counterpart of Bhangra. It is believed to have originated from West Punjab. This folk dance is performed by women dressed in bright coloured salwar kameez and beautiful accessories. The women braid their hair in long plaits and wear intricate jewellery. This dance is performed on ceremonious occasions like marriage, Teej festival, mundans and during the harvest season sometimes. Accompanied by clapping, the women sing satires to express their deep emotions. The subject of the songs (bolian) ranges from love for their paternal home, feelings of jealousy or resentment to the in-laws, warmth, love or evils of society.


Jhumar dance originated in Sandalbar which is now a part of Pakistan. Nevertheless, this dance style is now an integral part of the Punjabi culture. It is performed only be men and in circular fashion. It is common to see all the 3 generations of Punjabi men from a family dancing on Jhumar together. The dance is characterised by its acrobatic movements and the costumes are the same as Bhangra.


Luddi is performed as a victory dance by the Punjabi men. The dance is characterised by snake-like movements and the loose shirts as their costume.


This is a ceremonious dance also known as Gaatka. Often a part of marriages, the dance is performed by men in duos holding colourful sticks and dancing to drum beats.


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