Giddha is the folk-dance par excellence of women. It
has almost the same intensity as Bhangra. It leaves plenty of margin for
the depiction of feminine grace and elasticity. Women perform this dance
mainly on festive and social occasions especially marriages. In Malwa,
the Giddha performed during marriages is called 'Viyahula Giddha'. Hard
worked village women sometimes get together on moonlit nights and dance
in tune with nature. It is customary in the Punjab to celebrate Teeyan
in the month of Sawan. The festival lasts from the 3rd lunar day in the
month to full moon. Fairs are held at many places, swings are put up and
girls swing and dance to their heart's content. At such times Giddha is
performed under a peepal or banyan tree. The rainy season is also called
the season of Giddha because the drops of rain and the dark clouds inspire
the girls to dance out their pent-up feelings as nothing else can. Giddha
performed during Teeyan is called 'Teeyan Giddha'. For young girls whether
married or unmarried it is an occasion to look forward to. The newly-married
ones yearn to come to their parental homes during these days.
Giddha is danced in a circle. The girls form a ring.
One of them taking up a small drum (dholki) and sitting in the centre.
If a dholki is not available an earthen pitcher is substituted. The deserved
rhythm is produced by striking it with a pebble. The starting procedure
is the same as in Bhangra. One girl comes forward and sings a boli. As
she comes to the end of it, the others pick up the refrain and join. As
the dance proceeds they sing more and more spiritedly, keeping time by
clapping. The girls dance in twos. The dance is stylistically simple,
the jingle of the bells the thumping of the feet and the beat of the drum
creating an enchanting atmosphere.
Giddha is not performed according to any cut-and-dried
rule but harmony is the essence in such movements as swinging and twisting
the body, shaking the shoulders, bending to a double and clapping. Sometimes
four young girls perform Kikli in group of two's. Girls performing Giddha
indicate through gestures the various phases of the life of a Punjabi
woman spinning, fetching water from the well and grinding. Whichever phase
they portray, they sing with it an appropriate boli. Mimicry is very popular
in Giddha. One girl may play an aged bridegroom and another his
young bride or one may play a quarrelsome sister-in-law and another a
humble bride. All this gives women a chance to give uninhibited expression
to their pent-up feelings.