Giddha Dance

Giddha is one of the most popular dance forms of the Punjab region in India. It is believed to have evolved from an ancient dance form and is quite energetic. Like Bhangra, it is performed to celebrate joyous occasions. However, Giddha dance style is restricted only to females. Performed on festive occasions, the dance manages to display unchained energy, happiness and fervour and at the same time grace and elegance of a woman.

A special feature of Giddha is the folk songs or verses on whose rhythm the dancers’ perform. The verses are called ‘bolis’ and are an excellent reflection of the Punjabi folk poetry. The ‘boli’ can be based on a diverse range of topics, which include talks about ardent love, politics, misgivings of the in-laws, or friendly banter with the sister-in-law. The ‘bolis’ are a way the Punjabi women express their deep-seated emotions about the evils of society or the excesses of their husband and his relatives, and the loneliness of a young bride whose husband is in a faraway land.


Giddha dance is a ceremonious dance. Therefore, women are decked with heavy jewellery and traditional Punjabi attire during their performances. The revelry is incomplete without the bright and vibrant Salwar Kameez and Chunnis of young women. The heavily embroidered chunnis and jewels in Gold and precious stones add to the beauty of the women. Some of the ornaments that are specially worn for performing Giddha dance include ‘pazaib’ (anklet), ‘baazu band’ (amulet worn on the upper arm), suggi-phul (also known as maang teeka) and special necklaces. The necklaces include a gem studded ‘haar hamela’ and a long necklace made out of pure gold called the ‘raani haar’.

The traditional dress for the Punjabi Giddha dance adds to the feminine grace and beauty while keeping the women at ease during dancing. The attire is the same as the one that is worn by the Punjabi women every day. However on this day, the dress is much more colourful, decorated and accompanied by an assortment of accessories. Although most women opt for Salwar Kameez for dancing, one can observe many variations as well. Often women choose Lehenga Choli which is a traditional Indian dress of a blouse and a long skirt, with or without a long scarf called Dupatta. ‘Sharara’, which is Ghaghara with divided long skirt, is also a common choice. Heavy jewellery which includes necklace, nose ring, bangles, tikka, earrings and anklets are an important part of the costume.

Bright and contrasting costumes are a must for such occasions. An essential part of the Giddha costume is the ‘Paranda’, which is a braid made out of tassel. Women add the Paranda to their plaited hair and make them appear longer as well as fancier.


Giddha is not accompanied by a lot of musical instruments. The ‘dhol’ or ‘dholak’ is used to provide rhythm to the Giddha dancers. The prime feature of the dance is the vigorous hand clapping of the dancers. These hand-claps provide rhythm to the dancers. As energetic as the dance form is, it is equally tough and requires a lot of energy to perform.


The dance is performed in a circle. The girl that plays the dholki (drum with two heads) is seated in the centre while all the dancers make a circle around her. The performers move in circle around her and raise their hands to their shoulders for clapping together. The claps are done in a set pattern to provide rhythm to the dancers. In addition, they also clap their hand with the dancer next to them on either side. Earthen pitchers are often used as an accompaniment to the dholki.

The ‘Boliyan’ are an intricate part of the Punjabi culture and crucial to Giddha performance. The leader of the group sings the folk verse, which is then repeated in high-pitched and energetic voices by the other women. This is accompanied by beats of claps, pitchers and Dholki. Boliyan is the perfect way for young women to vent their feelings about their relations and mindset. Mimicry is also often staged in Giddha performances. The ladies can play parts of an aged groom and his young bride, or a humble bride and her snooty mother-in-law. The satires of mimicry and verses of Boliyan provide comic relief and entertainment to the audience. There is no restriction on the number of people in a Giddha group or set pieces. The exaggerated movements of the dance group engage the audience and force them to clap and dance along with the group. The energy and beauty of the Giddha performances is truly captivating. Giddha and Bhangra competitions are held around the world and held in high esteem. The dance form has found its way into the entertainment industry, television and college competitions in India as well.

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