Dance sensation Gurdeep Pandher is ringing in Sikh Heritage Month with some Bhangra
'Learning about other cultures will remove barriers and bring us together as fellow humans'
Before the pandemic, Gurdeep Pandher already had a string of viral hits. But with everyone stuck at home, his videos have had a special place for those looking to cleanse their timelines of case numbers and school closures. From his dance celebrating his COVID-19 vaccination, to collaborating with Celtic music group Crooked Folk, Pandher's videos have racked up millions of views from people sharing his joy with friends and loved ones.
For Pandher, dancing Bhangra allows him to share his culture with people from other walks of life in a way that he describes as "joyful, open and secular." He started Bhangra dancing as a young child, learning from his family and elders, and explains that the dance does not come from his religion, Sikhism, but rather Sikh culture and folklore.
"This dance is not present at the Sikh worship places, but it exists widely in Sikh weddings, parties and all non-religious happy gatherings," he shares. "In Punjab, in April, farmers harvest wheat crop. Then during Vaisakhi festival, they dance Bhangra to celebrate the harvesting of the wheat crop. People wear colourful dresses and enjoy a great harvesting season while dancing Bhangra."
To celebrate Sikh Heritage Month in April, Gurdeep shared a new Bhangra dance video with CBC Arts, and a message for Canadians:
"Sikhs have been living in Canada for more than 100 years. They speak Punjabi language. Their place of worship is called Gurudwara (or Gurdwara). They believe in one God and one human race. They believe that all religions are equally respectful and everybody is a fellow human being. This month, please spare some moments to learn about your Sikh friends and neighbours. If you get a chance, please visit a Sikh Gurudwara in your neighbourhood to learn about the Sikh heritage and culture. Learning about other cultures will remove barriers and bring us together as fellow humans."