Amritsar is a predominantly Sikh metropolitan. Boasting of its chivalric history full of a number of battles, the civilians of Amritsar are fundamentally brave. Their ancestors have revealed tremendous valor and gallantry in their fights against Mughals, Pathans and eventually British. This is the place where the first Sikh Army was raised. The followers of Guru Govind Singh have truly stood to his expectations. The hardworking people of Amritsar are stalwart by nature and tough by stature. They are patriotic by heart and have immensely contributed to the freedom struggle of India. Even today maximum of the soldiers of Indian Army are from Amritsar. The Kooka Movement and the Akali Movement are the two bench marks in the heroic history of Amritsar.
Apart from Sikhism, people following other religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, etc. also find accommodation in Amritsar. People from all casts, creeds, communities, backgrounds, status and religions live harmoniously in this cosmopolitan city. Amritsar is particularly a pilgrim destination of the Sikh population of the country and globe, yet people of other faiths also pay a visit to the Golden Temple of Amritsar in masses. The citizens of Amritsar are very friendly and hospitable and they receive their guests with a warm welcome.
Amritsar has made a huge contribution in Punjabi and folk literature and culture by standardizing the Punjabi Language. The 5th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev made Amritsar the center of spiritual literature. This city served as the home to the early Punjabi poetry that gifted the world with two of its prolific writers Mahakavi Santokh Singh and Bhai Veer Singh. Noteworthy writers of 20th century include Dhani Ram, Kirpa Ram, Giani Harinder Singh Roop, Feroze Din Sharaf, Maula Bakhsh Kushta, Saadat Hasan Mantoo, Girami, Faiz, Gurbax Singh, Nanak Singh, and so on. Amritsar is also the axle of the Raag-based recitation of Shabad (Scriptures of Sri Guru Granth Sahib). Amritsar is the city that records the highest production of harmoniums.
The chief festivals celebrated at Amritsar comprise Vaisakhi, Lohri, Guru Parb and Holi. Vaisakhi or Baisakhi is the festival celebrated in the holy memory of the foundation anniversary of Khalsa Panth. Khalsa was established in the year 1699 at Anandpur Sahib by Guru Govind Singh. Lohri is the harvest festival of Punjab celebrated on 13th of January every year. On the day of Guru Parb people offer prayers to the reverend Gurus of Sikhism. Guru Parb is organized in the months of November and January. Hola Mohalla is a unique festival celebrated at Anandpur to pay homage to Guru Govind Singh. Basant Panchami is another important festival of Amritsar organized at Chheharta Sahib Gurudwara. The peculiar fairs enjoyed at Amritsar include Ram Tirath Fair, Kothe Da Mela and the Basant Panchami Fair.
Bhangra and Gidda are the special dance forms performed by the folks of Amritsar. Bhangra is the traditional Punjabi dance form which is performed in a group. Loud drum beats provide the rhythm and the main action performed in this dance is jumping which suggests the overjoyed mood of the dancers. Gidda is a special dance meant for women wherein they dance to the tunes of the folk verses. These verses are called bolis that cover all kinds of themes like from arguments with in laws to recurring political issues. The rhythm is provided by the dholki and the clapping of the dancers.
Special cuisine of Amritsar includes Guru Ka Langar, Lachedar Parantha, Tanduri Kulchas, Puirs, Makki Ki Roti, Sarson Da Saag, Bhijje Kulche, Amritsari Stuff Kulcha, Stuffed Aloo Kulcha, Kulche Chole, Channa Bhatura, Channa-Puri, Dal Loaded With Desi Ghee, Maah Di Daal, Rajma Chawal, Kadi Pakoda, Karahi Paneer, Mutton Tikka, Seekh Kabab, Barbecued Chicken, Fried Fish, Tandoori Chicken, Cream Chicken, Amritsari Fish, Gur Ka Halwa, Balushahis, Pinnis, Amritsari Laddoo, Firni, Gulab Jamun, Jalebi, Kheer, Milk Barfi, Milk Products, Sharbat, Rabri, Lassi, Kesar-Piste-Wali-Lassi, Fruit Cream, Kesar Kulfi, Matka Kulfi, Satpuras, Samosas, Spicy Pickles, Papad, Badiyan, Chaat, Marmalades, etc.
The markets of Amritsar are remarkable for their distinguished items such as Sikh Religious Symbols such as Khandas, Karas, Swords, Daggers, Shields, Images and Photographs of Guru Nanak, Religious CDs, Punjabi Music, Juttis, Warian (Spicy Pulses Ground With Spices), Phulkaari, Patiala Salwars, Shawls, Sarees, Head Scarves, Salwar-Kameez, Carpets, Blankets, Embroidered Items, Traditional Handicraft Items, Durries, Kites, Bangles, Traditional Punjabi Jewelery, Cut-Glass and Woolen Textiles, Lacquered Wooden Works, Fireworks, Pickles, Jams and Jellies, Dry Fruits.