Bhangra is a dance that originated from the wheat fields of Punjab in India. The music is lively and the dancers’ feet are stomping. It is a part of the harvest celebrations in Punjab. From Punjab, the dance has spread around the globe and been transformed into a cultural phenomena. The origin of the word bhangra is from the major harvest product called bhang or hemp.
Fact 1. Bhangra has received worldwide acclaim and appeal in its traditional form and as fusion music mixed with hip-hop and reggae.
Fact 2. The origin of Bhangra goes back to the 14th century when wheat farmers expressed themselves in music regarding village life. With the passing of time, this ritual became a part of the annual harvest festival called Bhaisakhi, which falls on April 13.
Fact 3. Bhangra dances for the women are called Giddha. The dance is fast-paced, and the dance movements enact different aspects of their domestic lives. The rhythm of the dance is based on the beating of drums and hand claps.
Fact 4. There are various forms of the Bhangra dance originating from different parts of Punjab. These include: Jhumar, Luddi, Giddha, Julli, Daankara, Dhamal, Saami, Kikli, and Gatka.
Fact 5. The traditional clothing of men doing a Bhangra is the lungi, which is a colorful piece of cloth worn as a skirt or sarong. The top shirt is called a kurta. Another item is the turban, also known as the Bhugaris, that is used to cover the head.
Fact 6. The attire for women is the salvar kameez which is a long shirt worn with loose pants.
Fact 7. There are various instruments which are used for creating Bhangra music. The most important instrument is the dhol drum which is a high-bass drum played by beating with two sticks. The width of a dhol is about 15 inches wide. The string instruments include instruments such as: tumbi, sarangi, sapera, supp, and chimta. The tumbi is a single-stringed instrument whereas the sarangi is similar to a violin.
Fact 8. Bhangra has taken a twist in recent years with many singers originating from the United Kingdom setting the stage for Bhangra dance music.
Fact 9. The difference between the audiences for Bhangra is that it has shifted from an agrarian dance to dance hall entertainment.
Fact 10. Bhangra has been performed at 10 Downing Street at the invitation of the British Prime Minister David Cameron.