Under the folk dances of north India section, we are attempting to highlight various aspects of north India folk dances and folk dance of north India.
Cultural India : Indian Dance : Folk Dances : Folk Dances Of North India
Folk Dances Of North India
Dumhal (Jammu & Kashmir)
Dumhal is a popular dance of Kashmir. This dance is performed with long colorful robes, tall conical caps (studded with beads and shells). Dumhal dance is accompanied by songs which the performers themselves sing. It is supported by drums. There is an interesting tradition associated with Dumhal dance where the performers of this dance place a banner into the ground at a fixed location and they begin to men dance around this banner.
Hikat (Himachal Pradesh)
Hikat is a popular dance of Himachal Pradesh, performed by women. The Hikat dance is performed in pairs and the participants extend their arms to the front, holding each other's wrists. The dancers keep their bodies inclined back and make round of the same place.
In the Kulu valley of Himachal Pradesh Dussehra is celebrated with great grandeur and splendor. Singing and dancing form an important part of this festivity. Here, there are dances for different occasions and collectively all dances are called Natio.
Namagen (Himachal Pradesh)
Namagen is a dance performance usually held during autumnal hue celebrations. The most prominent dance amongst these is the Gaddis. In this dance the costumes are largely woolen.
Hurka Baul (Uttaranchal)
Some of the seasonal folk dances of Uttaranchal are Jhumeila, the Chaufula of Garhwal and the Hurka Baul of Kumaon. The Hurka Baul dance is performed during the cultivation of paddy and maize. The name of the dance is derived from Hurka, the drum which is the only musical accompaniment and baul, the song. In the Hurka Baul dance the singer narrates the story of battles and heroic deeds, the performers enter from two opposite sides and enact the stories in a series of crisp movements. The rural folk form two rows and move backwards in harmony, while responding to the tunes of the song and the rhythm of the players.
Chholiya is yet another famous folk dance of Kumaon, Uttaranchal. The Chholiya dance is performed during marriages. As the procession of marriage proceeds to the bride's house, the male dancers, armed with swords and shields, dance animatedly.
Bhangra is one of the most popular and energetic dances of India. Bhangra is performed by men folks during Baisakhi. It is among the most energetic and captivating dances of India and includes tricks and athletic feats. During the Bhangra performance the drummer is surrounded by men dressed in lungis and turbans. Luddi is yet another folk dance of the Punjab, performed by men folk. Luddi is performed to celebrate victory. In the Luddi dance the try to copy the movement of a snake's head.
The dance performed by the women folk of Punjab is called the 'Gidha'. In the Gidha dance a woman or a pair of women dance while the others surrounding her clap in rhythm. The Gidha dance is performed during the festival of Teeyan to welcome the monsoons (rains). This dance also includes a step when women go round and round with feet planted at one place. Jhoomer is a dance of graceful pace. This dance is also performed in a circle. Dancers dance around a single drummer standing in the centre.
Dhamyal or Dhup is one of the most popular folk dances of Haryana. Dhamyal dance is performed either by men alone or with women. A circular drum (Dhup) is played lightly by the male dancers. The spring season is a time of celebration in Haryana. The celebration is done usually after the work in the fields has been done.
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CULTURE IS THE ART OF LIVINGThe Jats dominate the state of Haryana and they claim themselves to be of Rajput origin who came from Malwa, Bikaner and Dharangar near the ancient Hastinapur.The jats are further divided into twelve chief clans (gotras) and about 137 minor gotras. Gatwallas or the maliks form the main group of people along with Dahiya, Ahlawat,Rathi, Dalal, Sahrawat, Kadian, Jakhar, Golia and Deswal.The Mullas belong to the separate Muslim Jats. The economy of Harayana is mainly dependent on agriculture which inturn is dependent on Jats who are the typical peasant caste. Nearly 90% of the population of Haryana is dominated by the Hindus and the Sikh population of Haryana is concentrated more towards the northeast and northwest and the Muslims are settled in the southeastern districts adjoining Delhi. One fifth of the population is also taken over by the Harijan community. Though the Islam community living here does not preach their religion here, they are divided into three categories namely the higher caste being taken over by the Asharf or Sharaf (noble), the middle class by the Ajlaf (base or mean) and the lower caste by the Arzal.The Jats are supposed to be excellent cultivators. Haryanvi is the mother tongue of the people of Haryana with a dialect of Hindi and Punjabi. Punjabi is the second official language of Haryana. The culture of Haryana can be best expressed as comprising the following :
ORIGIN AND ETHNICITYDating back to 4,500 years the people of the Harappan civilization were the first to occupy the land of Harayana. Later the Aryans from Central Asia started to migrate from there and started settling down in places like Punjab and Haryana because of the mighty river and its tributaries in this area of the Indian subcontinent. Thus the current population of the people Haryana has their ethnic origin to the Aryan race. This is clearly proved by the external features of the people who are tall with sharp features and wheatish colour.Though they are quite aggressive in nature they are very good at heart. The people are bound by a common interest which is their liking for milk and milk products which is an essential part of their diet.
CULTUREThe culture of Haryana dates back to the Vedic times and the people are noted for their rich cultural heritage. The people of Haryana are known for their rich folklore and strictly adhere to their own traditions and customs. The people of Haryana follow meditation, Yoga and chanting of Vedic Mantras which has become an integral part of their life. This way of life of the people of Haryana is age old customs. The culture of the people is extoled by their seasonal and religious festivals. The people are known for their diverse races, cultures and faiths which are blended in the right proportion to become something truly India. Even today they are preserving and follow their old religious and social traditions including fairs and festivals which are celebrated following all the traditional customs.
The dance of the people of Haryana forms the basis of their art and infact it is also most commonly referred by the people as mother of all arts. Apart from dance, the delighting form of arts enjoyed by the people is Saangs, dramas, ballads and songs. They consider dance to be a way of expressing their physical and emotional energy rather just as a part of recreation for they believe that dance is a source of taking away the worries and stress of the performers. Punjab has influenced the people of Haryana a lot for the fact that culture and humour is very much similar to them. With Hindi as the base the people of Haryana speak numerous dialects. Some of the main languages spoken here include Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English. But the manner in which it is spoken is remarkable. Popularly known as Haryanvi, Bangaru or Jatu, it is perhaps a bit crude, but full of earthy humor and straightforwardness. Of late due to the proximity of Haryana to the capital, lot of urbanization is taking place showing a modified perspective on the cultural aspects.
CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONSMost of the people of Haryana have more or less equal social status. The status factor comes up only with the age which is understood and respected. The elders no matter how poor or rich is given all the due respect in any place whereas the younger as a part of their social custom has to respect the older people even if the junior is very rich or socially placed in a high status. Thus the tradition of the state of Haryana is very socialistic in nature. When it comes to marriage, a boy and a girl of the same gotra are not allowed to marry and the marriage is a must within the same community. A boy and a girl of the same gothra are considered to be brother and sister. If marriages do not take place within the same Jat then it is considered as a great disgrace to the boy or the girl family and is never accepted. Marriage within the same village is also not permitted even if the boy and girl qualify for marriage according to gotra restriction. By following this custom the people are able to maintain racial purity and this factor of limiting within the community helps in promoting good health and prevention of physical degeneration. The people of Haryana do not promote karewa or widow marriage which is a very big obligation among the community.
COSTUMESThe costumes of the people of Haryana are very simple and contribute a lot to their culture. The status of the family is judged by their costumes. Men usually dress up themselves with dhoti, shirt, turban and a pair of shoes. The style of the turban varies for a Jat, an Ahir, a Rajput, a Bania or a Brahman. They are always found being wrapped by a blanket or chaddar. Costumes vary for the women folk especially for those of different communities. A Jat woman's costume consists of a ghaggri (a long skirt), shirt and a printed orhni which has long cloth used to drape the front area of her body. The Ahir women are characterized by their lehenga or petticoat tight blouse and orhni which are ususally red or yellow in colour and decorated with bosses and fringes. The costume of a Rajput woman is very much similar to that of an Ahir woman where the only difference lies in her orhni which is plain white with silver fringe but without a fall. The Brahmans and Aggarwal women go in for the normal dhotis and saris.
Irrespective of the community the people of Haryana in general have a lot of affinity for ornaments which are usually made of gold and silver. Some of their common or the most preferred ornaments include necklace, heavy bangles made of silver, jhalra (long hanging string of gold mohars or silver rupees) Karanphul and bujni of gold and dandle of silver for the ears. The rings which they wear on their fingers usually have their favorites name embedded in it. They also prefer nose rings and anklets.
ARTS AND CRAFTSPanipat, a major textile town in Haryana is noted for its rugs and upholstery fabric. Other handicrafts of the people of Haryana include woven furniture, artistic pottery and woodcarving. The furniture produced by the people are quite famous and they are woven furniture - modhas (round stools) and chairs made of sarkande (a reed) from Faroukhnagar; and pidhis from Sonepat, which are essentially wooden stools with seats woven in cotton thread or sutli.
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