Punjab Culture : Hospitality
The Traditional Hospitality
The culture of Punjab from among the cultures of the world has its own unique fragrance. It is unmatched. The scent of this fertile land is such in which the warmth of you-are-my-own is inborn. All communities hold pride in their traditions and the Punjabis whose open-mindedness has become proverbial also hold their unique tradition of hospitality high in their estimation as well as in their values of life. A guest in Punjab is considered as a representative sent by God.
Hospitality promotes brother-hood and holds a special significance for bringing people closer, love and kindness flow out of it and in Punjab they say that the more you love the more it multiplies and you receive back many more times the kindness that you give.
The land of Punjab which is described as the land of the Gurus, Pirs and the warriors, as a matter of faith believes in earning honest living through hard labor and in sharing the fruits of this labor with others without expecting any returns. Hospitality is a living aspect of our culture, which is shown even to the migratory birds that seek sojourn here.
Since time immemorial Punjab has known the art of respecting other people’s aspirations. Waves after waves of invaders, settlers, traders, travelers, in fact whoever came to take succor in this richly endowed land was absorbed in its mainstream.
Punjabis don’t profess and practice hospitality in their own land only but carry it, untainted and virgin to the lands where they emigrate and keep alight the zest of humane love which is an organic trait of their culture. There in no country in the world where they have not created waves.
Hospitality binds people together in bonds of love; it increases the circles of friendship and makes the atmosphere aglow with human warmth. Punjabis have proved this in all corners of the world in seemingly alien lands and because of these qualities they have been willingly accepted as useful, responsible citizens of the world, warm neighbors and good friends
Man is a social animal and hospitality is an initimate aspect of social intercourse in which Punjabis excel. When the British landed in Punjab as victors they were astonished to find that every little village and every mohalla in the larger cities of Punjab had special places to receive and honour guests and that the people of this land were irrepressible extroverts. The District Gazetteers of the time bring forth Punjab’s generous hospitality in bold relief.
Although Punjab has received hospitality as a God’s gift yet, on account of recent disturbances and rising prices it is coming under strain in the cities of Punjab. However, in villages it still remains supreme. It resides in the soul of rural folks. Reach a home in the middle of the night, the ladies will happily get up and cook fresh food for you. You can’t pass by certain vilIages without enjoying hospitality. You’ll be looked after so long as you stay. You will be warmly sent off, not empty handed, but with a gift of whatever is available in the house. Like all other human traits of the people of Punjab their hospitality is also guileless, rare and intense. It is an ubiquitous theme of Punjabi folk lore. When the crow, sitting atop the roof, crows, or dough when it is being kneaded bubbles, folk songs tell us that these are auspicious omens which convey that a guest is on his way. There are several other sayings which speak of the pleasures that are derived by looking after visitors.
Good habitat, laughter, playfulness and love form the enviornment in which hospitality grows. May the culture of this blessed land of the five rivers perpetuate and ever grow !