The word “Punjab” is made up of two Persian words ‘Panj’ and ‘Aab’. ‘Panj’ means five and ‘Aab’ represents water. The Punjab is known as land of five rivers because of the five rivers that ran through it. These rivers are Jhelum, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej and Chenab. Prior to Persian period this region was known by different names at different times. The lavish civilization of this northwestern state of India is noticeable in its metal work, sewing, work of art, ornaments, structural design, special songs and dances.
Punjabi culture is one of the oldest and richest cultures in world history, and also one of the most vibrant. The culture in Punjab is rich and diverse. The biggest community of Punjab comprises of Sikh and Jat. These people are extremely hard-working and are mostly involved in agriculture. They play a major role in the agricultural output of the state. Other major communities in Punjab comprise of Aroras’ and Khatris’. These people are into trade and commerce. Moreover, the fertile land of the state presents ample scope for agriculture. Punjab is the land where a number of religions exist in perfect harmony with each other. Sikhism and Hinduism form the major religions of the state. The other religions, like Islam, Christianity, Jainism and Buddhism, also flourish, though comparatively low in proportion.
The people of Punjab are well-known for warmth and hospitality. Stroll into any village in the Punjab countryside and you will be welcomed with food, glasses full of milk and lassi (cool yoghurt drink) and offers to stay the night. They take great pride in their valor and believe in traditional customs and rituals. Kinship plays a significant role in the culture of Punjab.
Bhangra is the most popular folk dance of Punjab. It represents the liveliness and dynamism of its people. The dance mainly involves men, who perform to the fast beats of drum and music. Originally performed on the Baisakhi festival, the harvest festival of Punjab, bhangra is done at every single festive occasion today. Giddha is a popular folk dance of Punjab, performed by the women of the region. It bears much similarity to the bhangra dance, which is performed by the men in the state.
Today, Punjabi people are widely distributed all over the world. As a result, the traditional culture has been strengthened and expanded to the western world as well, especially US, UK and Canada.