Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Join Me for a Taste of Punjabi Culture

Written by Angel de la Flor


A trip to India was one of the craziest experiences I have had in any country. I was one of the delegates from several countries to participate in the International Youth Peace Festival (IYPF). One of the organizers approached me to become a part of the cultural fashion show. I went with other five representatives from China, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and experienced the unique way of the Punjabi culture.


I was dressed in a traditional Indian wedding attire as a woman participant in my own mock wedding ceremony. I was so fascinated with the traditional Punjabi wedding dress, Lehenga, and all parts of being dressed up.  How can I forget the students who did the magic of making me look like a real Indian bride. To complete the preparation, one of them painted Mehndi on my palm, a ceremonial art decorated to a bride’s hands, arms and feet. These young women really did an awesome job.


And what a surprise!  We were brought to a village, called Sarangpur to witness an unexpected significant event. We were welcomed by the villagers with their dance to the beat of dholAlthough the drum beats are a bit loud than normal, I did not have the slightest idea that the local men with colourful kurtas and robes, dancing with the Punjabi music could be sensational.


The wedding dress was heavy and the weather was hot. Nevertheless, the friendly smiles of the local people pumped me up to dance on the drum beats.

And then another unforgettable moment happened. It truly was a surprise to experience the Punjabi wedding ceremony, with me as one of the brides. I was paired with a good friend Siam, the groom who was a delegate from Afghanistan. We went inside a Sikh Temple, but I decided to exclude myself from the worship session. For the wedding, there’s no word to describe such a tradition.


After the event, I also had time to interact with the villagers as we went around the village. The language barrier was tough since they all couldn't speak in English. But there was one thing that touched my heart ~ a girl who just kept running around me and following me wherever I go as she whispered, “I love you”, and left.

The festivities are exactly what to be expected of a traditional Punjabi wedding celebration. And, I consider this an experience that is not easy to forget. Every time I travel, all I ever wanted is to immerse in the culture, and such is just the perfect way I wanted it to be.

To be a part of the Punjabi culture as a bride is a great honour. There is nothing better than to be allowed to join and experience the culture ~ the ritual, song, dance, food and dress.


Author Bio: 
Angel is a writer, blogger who hails from the Philippines. A student at the De La Salle University~College of Saint Benilde in Manila. She travels not only to enjoy her life but at times take a trip 'for a cause'. Find more of her in Treasured.