Giddha is a popular folk dance of women in Punjab region of India and also Pakistan. The dance is often considered derived from the ancient dance known as the ring dance and is just as energetic as Bhangra; at the same time it manages to creatively display feminine grace, elegance and flexibility.
Giddha is a very colourful dance form which is now copied in all regions of the country. Women perform this dance mainly at festive or social occasions. The dance is followed by rhythmic clapping and a typical traditional folk song is sung by the aged ladies in the background.
Giddha varies from other forms of traditional Punjabi dance in that it does not require the two-headed barrel Dhol drum to be performed. Instead, women stand in a circle formation and clap rhythms. A lead woman will recite a Boli (lyrics) with a refrain that the entire circle then repeats. The whole form of a Giddha song is worked through in this call and response form. Giddha details stories of women’s lives, including sexuality.
Giddha is said to be originated from the ancient ring dance which was dominant in Punjab in the olden days. Women show the same level of energy which the men show while performing Bhangra. Giddha displays a traditional mode of performing Punjabi femininity, as seen through dress, choreography, and language.
Since the Partition of India in 1947 and the division of Punjab into West Punjab (Pakistan) and East Punjab (India), folk dances of Punjab on the Indian side of the border have been consolidated, staged, and promoted as iconic expressions of Punjabi culture.
While the form of Giddha was not seriously affected by Partition, Giddha has been classified as the women’s dance counterpart of the male dance-form Bhangra of Punjab, even though this is not fully correct.
Since 1960s-onward, Bhangra and Giddha competitions have become popular throughout Punjab and the Punjabi diaspora. Punjabi dance-forms have also spread through collegiate-level dance troupes in Punjab since 1960s, and also in South Asian student groups in the US, UK, and Canada since 1990s.
Folk dancers from Punjab performing at six-day Folk Dance Festival ‘Lok Tarang, in New Delhi on January 19, 2007 :
Dress Code :
Traditionally women used to wear Salwar Kameez in bright colours and jewellery. The attire becomes complete by dressing the hair in two braids, folk ornaments and wearing a Tikka on the forehead.