Pashtun culture

Pashtun culture is varied and is heavily influenced by that of South-Central Asia and other Afghan peoples.

Cultural Dances: Atan/Atanrh

Among the dozens of different folk dances known as Atanrh [] , [] , some are as follows.

Kabuli Attañ

In this dance, the dancers perform to the beat of the musician. This dance typically performed by men & women. It involves 2-5 steps, ending with a clap given while facing the center, after which the process is repeated again. The hip and arms are put in a sequential movement including left and right tilts, with the wrists twisting in sequence, with ultimately a hand is projected outward and brought in a 'scoop-like' fashion towards the center where the other hand meets it for a clap. This dance is typically performed with the musician dictating the duration and speed.

Khattak Dance

See Khattak Dance

Mahsud Dance

A unique dance routine using rifles performed by the Mahsud tribe of Pashtuns. Originally it was used to dance at the time of war, but later on became a cultural dance. The dancers dance empty handed and require only large drums. Nowadays though it is danced with the guns in the dancers hand; loaded guns are taken in one hand, up to the beat of the drum the dancers move forward in a circle. After taking two and half steps each dancer turn about, and make the gun and is caught with the other hand. All the dancers do this in a uniform manner and by completing the turning steps they fire in the air simultaneously. The sound of each of the guns goes on one time and seems to be single big bang.

Waziro Atanrh

Waziristan is a large area and has particular Pashtun culture. Two drummers and a flute player play a particular tune. All the Wazirs standing around them. Two persons leave the circle; go dancing towards the drummers, and come back dancing in the same manner. During performing both the persons turn around two times at a time once towards each other facing face to face and once keeping faces in opposite direction. After doing this separately they march while dancing to the assembled crowd. As they reach the circle another pair of the performers start and moving forward in the same fashion.

Cultural Sports

Buskashi (Bûz Kashi)

'Buz' means Goat and 'Kashi' means dragging or pulling in Pashto language. The sport dates back to Genghis Khan’s reign and continues with very little alteration today. The basic objective is to carry the headless carcass of a calf or goat around a flag and back to the starting point while on horseback with other riders trying to do the same thing by taking the carcass away from you. It’s not a team sport, it’s every man for himself and that becomes apparent as soon as the game starts. It is played on a large open dusty field which does not appear to have many boundaries. The game is a microcosm of power politics in Afghanistan. Although Buskashi is primarily an individual sport, alliances are built up between various players. And then, between the alliances, the strongest players finally take control (or in this case the remnants of a headless calf) and ride off to victory.

See also

*Pashtun people
*Pashtun tribes

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