Punjab is one of the most culturally rich states of India. It is known as the “Land of five Rivers” and that’s how it was named.
The basic natives of Punjab are referred as Punjabis. Punjab is well known for its rich cultural heritage, delicious food and warm hospitality.
Punj + aab= five rivers (Beas, Ravi, Jhelum, Chenab and Sutlej)
Punjab is situated in north of India. Punjab is bounded by Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh with international borders with Pakistan as well.
The Punjabis welcome the people with open arms and a big smile on their face. Punjab is well connected with other parts of the country via rail, air and bus transport.
Punjabi Festivals are listed below
Punjab is well known for its diverse and rich festivals. All festivals are celebrated with great enjoyment be it lohri, baisakhi or gurupurab. Let dive deeper to look at the richness which each festival possess.
Lohri is celebrated in the month of January, marking the end of winters. It’s a very popular and much awaited folk festival of Punjab.
It celebrated by all the Punjab inhabitants are it Hindu or Sikh. According to desi calendar, Lohri is celebrated on the last day of month “poh” which is January 13.
The next followed day is celebrated as Makar Sankranti, known as Maghi (in Punjab).
People do bon-fires and go to the relative’s house and distribute peanuts and revri to friends and relatives. Lohri is a gazette holiday in Punjab. All government and private institutions have holiday on Lohri.
Maghi also known as Makar Sankranti, has its own significance in Punjab. This day is celebrated by Sikhs by visiting Gurudwars and Hindus by visiting Temples.
People prepare halwa on this auspicious day. Maghi is celebrated the next day of Lohri i.e. 14 January every year.
Some of the villages in Punjab also organize a Maghi Mela. People from all over Punjab attend and enjoy the mela.
Some meals have sports activities and some have cultural dances such as bhangra and giddah.
According a Harvard professor and his research, it was found that these festivals had roots deep back at the time of Mahabharata and is approximately 2000 years old.
His festival also marks the end of winters and beginning of summers or you can say more days light. People prepare sugar kheer, halwa and a special kheer made from sugarcane known as rau di kheer. People eat sugarcanes.
Basant is a mix of Hindu and Sikh festival. It comes in the month of March (spring season). Punjabis wear yellow dress and eat yellow colored things.
The eye catching thing is the kite flying event. You can see a lot of kites (hundreds) of kites flying in the sky. People from all age groups enjoy. Younger ones fly the kite and the aged/ seniors enjoy watching them.
This festival is dedicated to goddess Saraswati and god Kama. Basant marks the beginning of spring season. A season when all the dry trees and raw valleys turn green.
The ambience and the view can make anyone go spellbound. At some places in Punjab, especially in villages, there are some fairs and melas are conducted. This festival was also celebrated in Pakistan Punjab, but later on a ban was imposed on it.
This is the most important festival of Punjab. It is referred as “Baisakhi” It marks the end of rabi season and start of harvesting season. Vaisakhi comes in the month of April.
People all over the Punjab; prepare sweet-dish in their homes. This festival holds a special importance in the hearts of farmers.
It is the day when they start harvesting their farms which is wheat farms.
Vaisakhi also marks the commencement of Punjabi New Year. It is a religious and cultural festival of Punjab. It is also known as harvest festival.
There are many other festivals which are celebrated along with this such as Bihu in Assam, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra, pongal in Kerala.
Vaisakhi marks the beginning of harvest season. Children are more excited as they go for kite flying activity. The sky is full of colorful kites, some big, some small.
You will find many people running behind the kites which fall off and the whole atmosphere is filled with the voices of “Bo- kata” and “dheel de” words.
This day is a holiday in Punjab. All the government and private institutions are closed on Vaisakhi. People do Bhangra and dhol is played. Punjabi ladies perform Giddah on this day.
Teej or Teeyan is a festival for ladies. It is celebrated in the month of July. It marks the starting of monsoon season.
It is celebrated for 13 days at a stretch. This festival is mainly for ladies. Punjabi women’s dance and wear new clothes.
The wear henna or mehndi on hands. There are swings set up in the village or in the gardens/ parks. This day is celebrated to honor the uniting of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati.
Teej is celebrated in most parts on India and not only Punjab.
But in Punjab, this festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. Teeyan is celebrated in the month of sawan and on the third day.
Long time back, ladies used to celebrate this festival at their maternal home but as the time passes, ladies do not have much time.
So, they go to their maternal homes and participate in the cultural events and other activities over there.
This festival also known as Raksha bandhan is celebrated in a very grand way. On this day, sisters tie a band or rakhi on the hands of their brothers.
And in return brother give them gifts. This is a beautiful festival involving a brother-sister love and helps to strengthen it.
The sister prays for the good health, and well being of the brother in all aspects, financially and medically. And brother oath to protect their sisters from any bad things.
History behind was rakhi is that, when queen Karanwati of Chittor, felt danger from Bahadur Shah, she sent a thread (rakhi) to his brother Humayun. Who then came for her rescue? This day is celebrated in the month of August.
This is another major festival of Punjab. It is celebrated 10 days after Dussehra or 10 days before Diwali.
On this day married women fasts for the well being of their husbands. And open their fast after looking at the moon.
On this day they dress up beautifully just like a newly wedded bride. They don’t eat full day and in the afternoon they listen to the Karwa Chauth story.
This festival holds a very important role in a newly wedded lady. Her first Karwa Chauth is celebrated in a very grand manner.
All married women from friends and family and neighborhood collect at one place (probably the newly wedded bride’s home) and perform the rituals over there. Some women play tambola and relax all day.
There are in all 10 Sikh gurus. Any birth anniversary or death anniversary is known as GurPurbs in Punjab. On this day all the Gurudwara’s are decorated beautifully.
There is langar/ Prasad distribution on almost every street. There is a chabeel (rose water) distribution also. All the gurupurabs are observed as a holiday in Punjab.
Not only this, but any day which is associated with a Sikh guru or any important date is known as gurupurab which means “the day of lord”. Some of them are:
- Birth anniversaries of all Sikh Gurus.
- martyrdom days of Guru Arjan dev ji and Guru Tegh Bahadur ji
- Installation of the Guru Granth Sahib jiin the Golden Temple, Amritsar.
- Creation of the Khalsa Panth
- martyrdom days of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji
GurPurbs are a blend of the religious as well as the festival, the spectacular and the devotional, the communal and the personal.
On any GurPurbs, Guru granth Sahib Ji (Holy book of Sikhs) is read in the Gurudwaras for 48 hours continuously. This is also known as Akhand path which means worshiping without interruption.
Bhai Dooj, as the name signifies is a festival of brothers and sisters. On this day a sister prays for the well being of the brother and performs a tilak and brother in return swears to protect her from all evil and gives her gifts.
Bhai Dooj falls on the second say after Diwali. The Punjabis wait for this festivals and rakhi and celebrate this bond of love very happily.
This festival is celebrated by Punjabi Muslims. It is celebrated in the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is celebrated to mark Battle of Karbala.
Hola Mohalla is a fair which is celebrated in Nanad[pur Sahib. The next day of holi is celebrated as Hola Mohalla. People from different parts of the state come to attend the fair and enjoy.
It is celebrated in the desi month of “Chet”. This day is celebrated to pay homage to their loving guru: Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Basariya is celebrated in the month of March or Falgun (desi calender). On this day, people worship goddess “Sheetla” and eat food prepared one night before. It is celebrated so that goddess “Sheetla“provides peace in their lives.
On this day mothers fast for their children’s well being. It is celebrated four days after karva chauth. All the rituals performed are the same as of karwa chauth. The only difference is that, the fast is opened by watching stars and not moon.
Another major festival of Punjab is Dussehra. In fact, it is widely celebrated all over the country. It symbolizes victory of good over evil when King Ravana was defeated by Lord Rama.
Diwali is the main festival of not only Punjabis but also Hindus. This day is marked as the day when the sixth guru of Sikhs was released from prison.
Again it’s a Gurupurab for Sikhs. People blow crackers ad lit their houses with lights. For Hindus, it is marked as the return of Lord Rama to be native place after defeating Ravana in Lanka. It comes after 20 days of Dussehra.
The Chappar Mela/ Jor Mela
This Mela/ Fair are celebrated in Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab and are celebrated for three days. This is celebrated to commutate the martyrdom of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji.
Their sons were buried alive in a brick wall by Mughals. Akhand path is performed for 36 hours of Guru Granth Sahib Ji and after that bhog is conducted.
Hariballabh Sangeet Mela
This mela is held in Jalandhar, Punjab which is a well known city for producing good singers. It is held in the memory of Swami Hariballabh who was a well renowned classical singer. It is organized in the famous Devi Talab mandir in the month December.
Baba farid ji Mela
This mela is celebrated in the memory of Baba farid ji, in the city of Faridkot for three days in September. The complete city is lighted with light and diyas.
The schools and colleges are also closed. People visit the holy city of Faridkot from all parts of Punjab to pay homage to Baba Farid ji.
Every Festival has its own importance and love in hearts of Punjabis. They love to celebrate all festivals with passions and panache.
The essence of each festival is well preserved in the hearts of Punjabis. Every festival showcases the richness, value, ideals and a real feeling of liveliness which is well depicted in every celebration.