The culture of the state of Punjab is the oldest cultures in the entire world. Its uniqueness and diversity is reflected in the poetry of the state, its spirituality, cuisine, education, philosophy, music, art & architecture, science & technology, history & traditions, military warfare etc. The high spiritedness and strong determination of the Punjabi natives show up in the way they dress up. The Punjabi culture is emblematic of a multi-hued, variegated heritage which is mirrored through the various traditional clothing of the Punjabi people. Vibrant colors, multiple designs and comfort elements combine in the traditional dresses of Punjab to make the dresses stand out. To learn in details about the traditional dress of Punjab, read on:
Dresses of Punjabi Women
Floral embroidery craft of Punjab seen on the traditional dresses of women: When it comes to Punjabi dresses of women we definitely need to know about the Phulkari craft. It is intricate flower embroidery associated with the femininity of the Punjabi women. The craft emerged around the 15th century and has now become famous worldwide. When we speak of Punjabi dresses, Phulkari is the word which comes to our mind at once. A mention of this creative embroidery has been made in the famed romantic novel ‘Heer-Ranjha’ by Waris Shah. Dresses featuring the Phulkari embroidery are worn by the Punjabi women of various social backgrounds and age groups. Exquisite floral patterns weaved in vibrant colors on the shawls, dupattas, lehengas, kurtas and salwar suits make the attires a true eye-catcher.
What Do Punjabi Women Traditionally Wear?
The Punjabi women love to wear the following traditional dresses:
Patiala Salwar Suit
This traditional Punjabi attire consists of baggy, loose-fitting, pleated trousers paired with short kurtas and Phulkari veil or Dupatta which is distinctly glossy in look. The women of Punjab usually cover their head with the dupatta as per their religious customs. Multiple pleats are a chief feature of this salwar. This fabulous dress is incredibly popular among the Punjabi women from the various parts of the state of Punjab and is indeed highly functional attire. It is super comfortable and attractive attire for the women in Punjab. The style of Patiala salwar originated at the Patiala City of Punjab and thus, has been named a ‘Patiala’ suit. The many generations of expert weavers from the state of Punjab are involved in stitching these uniquely designed Patiala Salwar suits due to the immense popularity this dress has been received with across the ages. During those earlier times, the Patiala salwar had been a part of the royal outfit of the king. With the passage of time it got transformed into a woman’s attire and is also referred to as the Punjabi suit. The Patiala Salwar Suit bears a semblance with the famed Paithani suit.
The typical Punjabi Ghagra consists of four-pieces of costume worn in a compact form by the women of Punjab. The Punjabi Ghagra includes a Phulkari head scarf, a kurti, a long flared skirt known as Ghagra and a typical Punjabi-style salwar or trouser or the suthan, a unique baggy trouser fitted with a tight elastic band at the ankles. This dress is donned by women during the Giddha performance, a kind of Punjabi folkdance. This dress is utterly colorful and shimmering and makes a Punjabi woman look very graceful.
This attire is also much loved by the Punjabi women. It consists of a Kameez or tunic and a typical churidar trouser. Unlike the Kameez of the Patiala suit that of the Churidar suit is long enough and reaches below the knees. The trouser is designed in such a way that it hugs the legs and thereby accentuates the beauty of well-toned legs. The Churidar trouser is actually longer than the legs and the extra length is arranged at the ankles in the form of several folds that resemble bangles or ‘Churis’. A matching veil or dupatta is used along with the Churidar suit. Churidar suits have now become popular all over the country and women from other states too love to flaunt these suits.
Dresses of Punjabi Men
This traditional dress worn by the Punjabi men folk came into being during the Mughal rule. The attire sits tight around the torso and flares up similar to a skirt at the wearer’s knees. A turban or pagdi is worn along with the Jama to give one a royal look. Tight-fitted, leg-hugging pajamas are worn too with the Jama. The Jama generally comes with quite long sleeves tied underneath the wearer’s armpits.
Kurta-Pajama is well-known attire for men all over the country. Punjabi men too love to flaunt their traditional Kurta-Pajama look. Kurta is loose-fitting, long-sleeved, sides-slited and straight-cut apparel for the upper body while the pajama is a kind of loose-fitting trouser tied at one’s waist with the help of a broad enough string. Kurta-pajamas come in multiple styles and designs and are used mostly as a casual wear by the Punjabi men.
The Tehmat also known as the Tamba is a kind of lungi worn by the Punjabi men. It is worn most uniquely with folds in the front. The Tehmat is generally paired with a kurta or shirt. During a special dance by the Punjabi men called Bhangra this Tehmat is worn. The tehmats worn during the bhangra dance are significantly glossy in texture and come with a zari border.
Over the Kurta Punjabi men often wear a jacket. The jacket when paired with the kurta and Tehmat gives the traditional look a sophisticated edge. The dance costume of the men from Punjab definitely includes a jacket. For casual occasions the Punjabi men flaunt a type of jacket styled like the Jawahar coat.
No traditional look is complete without the suitable traditional accessories. Given below are some of the traditional accessories of Punjab. These accessories are paired with the traditional Punjabi clothing to give the wearer the typical Punjabi look:
This is a beautiful hair accessory used by the Punjabi women. A long cluster of silk threads of various contrasting colors and attractive ornamental tassels at its lower end is referred to as the ‘Parandi’ or ‘Paranda’. It is used to beautify the long braided hair that a Punjabi woman is known for. The Parandi is generally attached to the end point of the long braid. Golden ribbon also known as the ‘Gota’ is wrapped around the Parandi to make it more eye-catchy. Parandi is a beautiful example of the folk art and craft of Punjab. The craft of making Parandi involves the use of embellishments such as pearls, mirrors, zari and ghungrus or small metallic bells. There are 4 main types of Parandi used by the Punjabi women: Jail Parandi, Jalebi Parandi, Laddoo Parandi and Moti Parandi.
Juti is the typical Punjabi flat-soled footwear worn by both men and women alike. The history of the Juti dates back to nearly 400 years. In the times of the kings and queens this footwear was widely used. In the recent times too this footwear is very much in vogue. These jutis feature intricate, colorful and very attractive threadworks made on leather. During weddings the Jutis that are worn come with golden or silvery embroidery. One notable feature of the jutis is that they are devoid of both right and left sides and thus one can wear them on just any foot. Pointed toes and closed upper portion are the two other important features of the Juti. The Punjabi jutis are handcrafted footwear and are similar to the ballerinas in look.
Pagdi is a traditional headwear worn by the Punjabi men. It is a comfortable headwear made out of cotton or any other breathable fabric. Punjabi men wear the Pagdi almost all the time and the color of the pagdi is usually matched with that of the shirt or kurta. The Pagdi is also referred to as the ‘Pag’. It involves the use of a long fabric that is tied upon the head of a Punjabi by means of a special winding technique. The Sikhs wear a kind of pagdi or turban referred to as the ‘dastar’. When a sikh boy ties the pagdi for the first time, it is done through a special ceremony at the famed Golden Temple known as the Pagdi/Dastar bandhi rite.
Modern Garbs of Punjab
Under the impact of westernized fashion trends and styles the types of Punjabi attires have changed in terms of their designs and manner. These days the Punjabis have switched to shorts, jeans, funky shirts and T-Shirts and several other westernized costumes. These new styles have actually mingled with the local customs and traditions.
The traditional dress of Punjab are a perfect mix of beauty, comfort and bright colors that symbolize unity and victory. The dresses worn by the Punjabis are ideal for the various festive occasions such as Lohri, Tiyan, Vaisakhi, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Holi etc. If you are planning to visit Punjab, make sure to pick some of the best traditional dresses of Punjab for your wardrobe.