Celebrating culture and community: A spotlight on UBC Bhangra Club

UBC Bhangra Club (UBCBC), founded in 1992, has represented UBC’s Punjabi community and encouraged philanthropy, culture and camaraderie for the past three decades.

On March 29, they ended yet another successful year with their beloved formal. Despite end of year essays and assignments, the Fraserview Banquet Hall was buzzing with energy — the community still showed up, decked out in their best suits and ties, and lehngas and dupattas.

The night wouldn’t be complete without the staple banquet hall veggie pakoras and speciality drinks (see the all too familiar Crown and Coke). And of course, a mix of classic Punjabi songs reminiscent of being dragged to family functions as a kid, combined with new bangers that you would usually have to spend half the night requesting at the DJ booth.

A successful night, indeed! But preparing for an event like this starts months in advance with UBCBC’s infamous samosa sales at Neville Scarfe, and even some seasonal specials, like Valentine’s Day treats.

One of the club’s main initiatives is creating a space that acknowledges and embraces the Punjabi diaspora. UBCBC hosted three ‘Fusion’ Pit Nights this year, where songs seamlessly transitioned from Diljit to Drake.

But the annual culture show is the true bread and butter of the club. Held at Delta’s Genesis Theatre, the show is an homage to all things Punjabi — the night consists of performances from the talented Bhangra and Giddha Teams, some skits starring the club’s executive team and even a fashion show.

The proceeds from this event went to Khalsa Aid — a UK-based charity which provides food, clothing and other support for people around the world suffering the effects of natural disasters and state conflict. The charity has its roots in Sikhism, with the belief in wellbeing for all.

UBCBC does an outstanding job at balancing the demand for fun and lively events while still giving back and educating the community.

On their Instagram, the club posts about current events in Punjab, like the devastating floods and ongoing farming protests. They also make educational content about holidays like Lorhi and the dialects of Punjab.

Scattered throughout the year in between fundraisers and Pit Nights, UBCBC throws a few more laid-back socials, fittingly named Gup-Shup Nights (slang for chit-chat). Usually held in The Nest’s Great Hall, the club builds an inviting space filled with games like bhabhi, snacks and even karaoke.

One of the club’s new events this year was Diaspora Night, an event dedicated to showcasing Punjabi artists amongst the student body.

“We didn’t really have much to work off of so the Diaspora Event was a pioneering event heavily backed by experience creating other events. Nevertheless, I think Diaspora might come back next year,” Jagmeet Dhillon, UBCBC’s vice president, wrote in a statement to The Ubyssey.

Dhillon is confident that moving forward, the club will continue to prioritize a diverse range of events.

“I would also love for the club to emphasize the importance of just having a platform to attract [P]unjabi students, and allow for chances to connect and build relationships with each other in such a massive university.”

UBC is a massive school and at times can feel isolating, but past events put on by UBCBC, and all the ones yet to happen, will surely carry on the legacy of philanthropy, culture and camaraderie within UBC’s Punjabi community.