Sunday, February 27, 2011

Welcome to the Afghanistan's Culture and Traditions

Thanks for visiting Afghan Culture and Traditions blog http://afghantraditions.blogspot.com/, here you can learn about Afghan landlocked and mountainous country located in the heart of South Central Asia with the history of over 5,000 years. I am sure most people are familiar with the name of Afghanistan but not familiar with the Afghan culture, Afghanistan history, Afghanistan food and hospitality. In this blog you will find the information about Afghanistan religion, Afghan government, Afghan culture, Afghan history, Afghan Traditions, Afghan people, authentic Afghan food recipes, Afghanistan Sports including Buzkashi and Kite flying.

This blog also gives you information about Afghanistan culture and costume of Clothing, or clothes, including traditional Afghan clothing, Communications in Afghanistan, Transportations in Afghanistan as well as entertainment such as Afghan Movies which were made or currently being made about and in Afghanistan as well as Afghan music, Afghan Attan, Pashto Attan i mean Afghan Dance, Media, Arts and Crafts and much more.

KHAN JEE


Culture, Traditions, History

Afghanistan is located in Central Asia. Its culture, traditions and customs are unique to its geographical setting as a landlocked state. It is bordered by Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and with China.

Although Afghanistan is a country wrecked by a senseless war, its existence should not be branded by its prior history. Afghanistan’s population of almost 30 million includes a vast majority of different ethnicities that are working together to improve their economy and work together for a brighter future.

Deeply engrained in this small country in the Middle East is their culture, which has been around for over two millennia. Afghans are very proud of their tradition, and customs are taken very seriously. For example, Afghans are some of the most hospitable people in the world. Regardless of whether you are visiting the family of a Sheik or a peasant, you will be treated like a king. It is part of Afghan tradition to treat your guests as you would wish to be treated if ever you were visiting them.

The glorious land of the Afghans is now the focus of much political attention and different countries or culture. However, a closer look at the region makes it easy to understand current events. The people here flaunt a culture and tradition that are the result of ancient trade and migration. The customs that have emerged and survived greatly compliment its geostrategic location, and a long tryst with invaders and individual empires. Modern Afghanistan is well grounded in its beliefs and customs, even as it is open to change. This buffer state is no more one; it has emerged as a power to reckon with. Afghanistan has always influenced world cultures and heritage, more than their military or political mindset. A rich tradition in ancestry and pride in personal honor are characteristics that offer a glimpse of the land and its people. The new Afghanistan is hardly any different from the older version, physically. However, the influence of neighboring countries and the remnants of a terrible civil war have made the people vary of foreign intervention. The people of Afghanistan are friendly and hard-working. Their lives and vocations are centered around the home. Women are treated with utmost respect and honor.

Afghan culture

People: Afghans are very brave and proud of their land, religion and ancestry. They value their independence beyond life. These highlanders are known for their loyalty to the clan, and due to clan warfare, they seem always up-in-arms to settle disputes. However, this is wrongly interpreted as a preference for violence. This particular trait is the result of consistent foreign invasion. They never negotiate on their land, they tead their land as a mother. So, in the past as you seen the Russian occupation was fail in this land. Now there are around 40 to 50 super states arm formed on the ground in Afghanistan and going to flee the country without any victory. Although Obama has declard his victory, but in the mean time everybody known that all the world's super power actualy fail.

Geographic: Afghanistan has lost quite a few of its historic monuments in recent wars. The famous sites of Kandahar - the city that flaunts the prophet's cloak, Ghazni and Balkh are remnants of architectural extravagance and grandeur. The famous Minaret of Jam has been declared a 'heritage site' by UNESCO.

Sport: Buzkashi. Do you know about the Buzkashi?. Buzkashi is the national game of Afghanistan. In the game player riding on horses to get the buz i mean the Goat. Anybody in this game will take the Goat firstly with their stick so he will be the game winner and he will honord the prize of the mela. It is a game like polo that is centered around claiming the carcass of a goat, placed in the center. Hound racing is another popular sport of the highlands.

Poetry and Language: Persian and Pashto poetry is a very important part of Afghan culture. Poetry is a major component in education. Mushaeras or poetry competitions are a common indulgence with the ordinary people. In fact, most homes have exclusive collections of poetry. They have given to the world, poets like Rabi'a Balkhi - the first poetess of Persian poetry, Farrukhi Sistani - the Ghaznavid royal poet, Jāmī of Herāt and Alī Sher Navā'ī. The language commonly spoken by the Afghans is the eastern Persian dialect called Dari. The name refers to the 'language of the royals'. Dari is the official language of more than one-third of the population. Pashto is spoken in eastern and southern Afghanistan, while Tajik is spoken prominently in the north. There are many other languages and dialects spoken throughout the country.

Afghan Traditions

Afghans are mostly followers of the Islam religion. These highlanders have a tradition of music. Traditional as well as modern Afghan music is unique in appeal and is part of the celebrations. The people indulge themselves during the Nauroz celebration. Afghans are known to display a fierce loyalty to respective tribes. They believe that Islamic law permits every 'believer' to maintain arms when directed by the ruler. This requirement mainly springs from the geographical location and difficult living conditions in the mountains. They flaunt a very simple, but nourishing cuisine that comprises hand baked bread and meat or vegetable preparations. The food is rich and spicy, complimenting the climatic conditions. Their uncomplicated lifestyle has worked both, for and against the people. Several times, their friendly nature has been mistaken for a compromising attitude and has led to the current political conditions. On the contrary, the Afghans are quite a hardy lot and basically non-interfering. The geographical location of the country has made it a perpetual battleground, due to the war on terrorism, an evil that thrives in the mountains.

Afghan's Customs

The people of Afghanistan are firm believers in the omnipresent God and follow the principles of Islam. Their customs and way of life are designed to compliment the dictates of the Prophet, location of their country and clanship, essentially in that order. They are very hospitable and loyal people, who value personal honor and responsibility as the fundamentals of social structure. They greet one another with the phrase Assalaam Alaikum, which means 'Peace be with you'. The response to the greeting is Waalaikum Assalaam, indicating unison in thought. It is not uncommon to see the highlanders walk bare-foot. It is a custom to remove footwear prior to prayers. Among the other common rules in etiquette that they follow are pointing directions with whole hand instead of one finger, a hand-shake and a pat on the back when men meet and a warm embrace and kissing thrice on alternate cheeks when women meet. Afghan society is kinship based and the traditional customs and practices, vary just a bit from one region to another.

STATISTICS AND FACTS OF AFGHANISTAN

Location: Southern Asia, north and west of Pakistan, east of Iran

Capital: Kabul

Population: 29,928,987 (in 2005 est.)

Climate: Arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers

Ethnic Make-up: Pashtoons/Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%

Religions: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, other 1%

Afghan Hospitality

Hospitality is an essential aspect of Afghan culture.

No matter who you are, if you visit a home you will be given the best the family has. You will be offered snacks and your tea glass will be constantly filled. When you have had enough cover the glass with your hand and say "bus" (meaning 'enough'). Green Tea is the most usable tea of afghanistan. It is very famous in all over the Afghanistan. If you are going to be the guest of home so firstly you will be offered a cup of green tea.

ETHNIC GROUPS

1-PASHTOONS
2-UZBEKS AND TAJIKS.
3-HAZARA AND NOORISTANIS
4-BALUCHI AND AIMAQS


1-PASHTOONS.
The Pashtoons (Pakhtoons) related from the dominant ethnic and linguistic community, accounting for just over half the population. Tribally organized, the Pathan are concentrated in the east and the south. As they gained control over the rest of the country in the 19th century, however, many of them settled in other areas too. The Pashtuns mostly speak Pashtu/Pashto (although some residing in Kabul, Kandahar and other urban areas speak Dari) and are generally Sunni Muslims. They are divided into tribal and sub-tribal groups to which they remain loyal. These tribal divisions have been the source of conflict among Pashtuns throughout their history. Even today, the Pashtun parties are divided along tribal lines. The majority of Pashtuns make their living off of animal husbandry and agriculture as well as some trade. In Afghanistan, Pashtuns have traditionally resided in a large semi-circular area following the Afghan border form north of the Darya-e-Morgab east and southward to just north of the 35' latitude. Enclaves of Pashtuns live scattered among other ethnic groups in much of the rest of the country, especially in the northern regions and in the western interior due to the resettlement policies of Amir Abdul Rahman Khan, who ruled Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901.

The Russian invasion of 1979 has been the major determining factor in Afghanistan's ethnic relations since that point in time. From that time Until mid-1991 the various factions of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, all dominated by Pashtuns, controlled the country's government. All other factions either opposed or aligned themselves with the PDPA (with most in the opposition), including several Pashtun factions. It is not within the scope of this chronology to document the constant shifts in alliances between various factions, both between the opposition and government camps and within them. However, it should be noted that most of the factions were ethnically homogeneous and were engaging in a constant shifting of alliances worthy of traditional balance of power theory and continue to do so today. The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 has only affected the power relations among the country's various factions but has not changed the fact that they are in constant competition with each other.

2-UZBEKS AND TAJIKS.
In the North of the Hindu Kush in Afghan Turkistan, a substantial number of people (perhaps 1.6 million) are descended from the Central Asian Turks who frequently invaded from the north. The most populous Turkish group in Afghanistan is the Uzbeks, who have broad, flat faces and lighter skin than the Pushtuns. They are farmers and stockmen, breeding the karakul sheep and an excellent type of Turkman horse. These people have kinsmen in the central republic of Uzbekistan. Many Uzbeks fled into northern Afghanistan in the 1920s to escape the suppression when the Soviet government was trying to stamp out their customs and Moslem religion.

The Tajiks are mostly Sunni Muslims and speak Persian. They live predominantly in the north-east and in the west. Some also live in Kabul and the big number of Uzbeks living in Mazar-e-shareef.

3-HAZARA AND NOORISTANIS
The Hazara community speak Farsi and are mostly Shie'i Muslims, there are also some Hazaras Sunni Muslims. They settled in Afghanistan at least as far back as the 13th century. Hazaras have always lived on the edge of economic survival. As a result of Pashtun expansionism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries which was fueled by Sunni prejudices against the Shie'i (thus attracting the help of the mostly Sunni Tajiks and Uzbeks) the Hazaras were driven to the barren dry mountains of central Afghanistan (the Hazarajat) where they live today separated into nine regionally distinct enclaves. The Hazaras are primarily sedentary farmers practicing some ancillary herding. Many Hazaras also migrated to the major towns, particularly Kabul where they occupied the lowest economic rungs. It is perhaps this economic deprivation which caused the Hazaras and other Shi'i to organize politically during the 1960s and 1970s and concentrate on gaining political autonomy for themselves during the Soviet occupation. During the Soviet occupation, the Soviets abandoned any pretense of controlling the region. During this time, the Hazaras engaged in a violent civil war.

The Nooristanis are the smaller ethnic group of afghanistan, basically they live in remote mountain area of Kabul and some of Pakistan's border areas.

4-BALUCHI AND AIMAQS.
Half a million Aimaqs, whose origin is vague, live west of the Hazarajat in the region between Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat and Bamiyan Afghanistan triangle. Baluchis (Balochi) nomads drive their flocks across the border from their province in southwestern Pakistan. They live mostly in the southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz and Farah. Balochi are very different from Pakistan Baloch ethnic group. The most of Baloch living in Pakistan in Balochistan Province in the Rural areas. Although the most of business are doing by Pashtoons in Balochistan.

Afghan Hindus and Sikhs have different histories. Hindus have always lived in Afghanistan. They call themselves Kandharis and not Multanis and Punjabies. Some of the old temples in the area also point to this theory. The word Kandh in Seraiki means wall. Kandahar used to have many walls. The language spoken by Afghan Hindus in Kandahar known as Kandhari/Pashto is probably "Jataki". There's Chahbra family in Bombay who traces his ancestry back to someone from Kabul from ten generations back. There are many families from India, mostly Sikh, who have the last name of Kandhari.

AFGHANISTAN'S TV, RADIO CHANNELS AND NEWSPAPERS

There are a lot of International and Local TV Channels broadcasting 24 hours. Some of the TV channels are listed below.

Ariana Afghanistan TV

Ariana TV

Shamshad TV

Ayna TV

Khorasan TV

Noor TV

Noorin TV

Tolo TV

Tamadun TV

RADIO
ART (Afghanistan National Radio Television)


NEWSPAPERS
Hewad,Annis, Esllah, Errada, Arman-e-Milli

Afghan Clothing and Fashion

Afghan people basically wearing shalwar kameez and Paghry. Cotton and wool are the main material used in Afghanistan and these are woven and dyed and made into garments by each family or group.

The men wearing a thigh-length, long-sleeved Kameez i mean shirt which is belted at the waist with a skirt effect to the lower half. A sleeveless waistcoat is worn over the shirt and there are loose fitting white trousers. Another form of dress is the long-sleeved, ankle-length 'chupan'. This is a long coat made in wool, often white in colour and worn by the mountain peopl in the winter season. The chupan is worn over loosely fitting jackets and trousers, or is wrapped round the body like a cloak. There is also a similar type of coat which is made in stripes of darkish colours.

Young girls go bareheaded, but women cover their heads with long headscarves, the colours varying according to the groups to which they belong. The scarves are tied round the head, leaving a long end hanging down the back, which can be drawn across the face. A white headscarf signifies the married status. In the Taliban's rule all the women wearing Burka. Without wearing Burka they cannot allow to go out from home. Talibans have strict regulations in this case.

Women wearing the Chadri/burka, which covers a woman from head to foot. with a latticed slit for the eyes, is made of cotton in shades of blue, brown, black. In the rural parts, women working on the land dispense with this, but cover their faces in the presence of a stranger. The women near Pakistan's border wear long, full trousers, often red in colour, with a loose, long-sleeved tunic dress, rather like the kameez, together with a draped headscarf.

In the winter, they take thick woolen, hand-knitted stockings are worn with leather boots. Children and adults wear sandals or a form of boot as protection against the rough mountainous ground or earth. The hide comes from the Yak, which is found throughout the highlands of central Asia. In the cities, the open toe sandals is very common and sometimes shoes with up-pointed toes are seen. There are various forms of headgear which include the large turbans with a long end hanging down the back, neat around astrakhan hats, woolen knitted hats and large fur sheepskin hats.