Snow and ice did not stop students from coming out and watching the annual Bhangra in the Diag as members of the Punjabi Student Organization danced to the beat of traditional and modern music yesterday.
The performance consisted of Bhangra and Giddha dances choreographed by students. PSO members had informational posters on Punjabi culture and also food for everyone.
Bhangra in the Diag began last year in an attempt to promote diversity and raise awareness of Punjabi culture.
Jasmine Singh, who was one of the choreographers, said it is important to spread appreciation for Punjabi culture on the University campus.
“We’re trying to preserve Punjabi culture,” Singh, an LSA sophomore, said. “We want to promote diversity and awareness. There is a need for cultural awareness. Bhangra is not just Indian. It’s also played on rock stations. We’re breaking social boundaries.”
PSO chair Ruchie Chadha said the organization’s primary goals include promoting social and cultural awareness through events like Bhangra in the Diag.
“We want to expand into the intercollegiate arena, with (the) creation of a PSO forum, and build a stronger community within PSO,” Chadha, an LSA sophomore, said. She added that these goals could be achieved by collaborating with other organizations and sharing cultural activities and events between groups.
Bhangra is a traditional Punjabi dance that originated in the fields of northern India. Rather than consist of separate steps, Bhangra involves a series of several hand and feet movements put together according to the music beat.
Another form of Bhangra is the Giddha dance – a Punjabi folk dance – performed only by female dancers. Marked by clapping and singing, Giddha is a manifestation of the emotions of the daughters of Punjabis. It is usually performed on the eve of weddings, where the Giddha serves as the medium for young women to express their emotions.
Many students who watched the performance said last year’s show had an influence on getting them out in the wet, icy weather.
“I had a lot of fun last year,” LSA sophomore Dhara Naik said. “I like Punjabi culture and especially Bhangra.”
“Almost all of my roommates are Indians,” LSA junior Alyssa Kalata said. “I came last year and I’m trying to learn Bhangra myself.”