The Culture of Afghanistan
Afghanistan Culture Overview
For a long period in history, Afghanistan has been ravaged by invasions, civil wars and terrorist activities. This atmosphere has disrupted and overturned much of the country’s social and cultural traditions. However, during these days, one sees the resuming of a settled life and a return to tradition as a great number of refugees are returning home. The society of Afghanistan is dominantly of tribal origin. Therefore, tribal affiliation pre-dominates the people’s sentiments than the sense of nationhood.
Since the Arab-Muslim conquest, Islam has become the common religion of all the tribal groups and has largely influenced the culture of the land. However, different regions of the country have their own unique traditions. This accounts for the multi-cultural and multi-lingual character of the nation. About 99 percent of the people practice Islam, 80 percent of them being Sunnis and 19 percent of them being Shi'as. Apart from this, one sees the existence of other traditions such as Pshtunwali, Baha'i faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism. Mullahs or the male members of the religion who can recite Quran from memory are considered as the most important religious figures in Afghanistan.
The wide and varying landscape of Afghanistan aids the growth of a range of crops in Afghanistan. The cuisines of Afghanistan are largely based on cereals like wheat, maize, barley and rice. Afghan grapes are among the most popular in the world. Some of the notable dishes of the land are Palau; Kofta or meatballs; sweet pumpkins; Aush or handmade noodles; Gosh feel or pastries; sweets like halwa and jelabi; Khajoor; a type of meat dumplings called mantu; Afghani bread; the traditional rice dish called Qabuli Palav; sabzi; Afghani soup called Shorba, and rice pudding called Shir Berenj.
Islamic Clothing of Afghanistan
The traditional Afghan clothing for men includes a Pakol (hat), Lungee (turban), and a Chapan (coat). However, this varies by province and with ethnicities. Most traditional women of Afghanistan wear a long dress with round skirt slightly similar to a "salwar kameez." Afghan style of dressing is unique and typical to the land. The pants worn by Afghans are loose, but at the end, they are clasped close to the ankles. Often, the dress of Afghanis combines several colors often representing the color of the flag. Women wear the burqa, abaya, and hijab, which fall in line with the traditional Muslim Clothing and Islamic Clothing attire worn by Muslims in other countries.
Social Life of Afghans
Extended family life is the central feature of Afghan’s social life. Family is a caring and responsible unit vested with the power to make decisions from schooling to marriage for all the members. Total dependence to family structure is strikingly contrasted with a striking sense of independence. In other words, Afghans are seen hostile to any external force including the government interfering in family affairs.
Afghanistan National Sports
The national sport of Afghanistan is Buzkashi, or polo, an ancient rough and tumble game, played with the carcass of a goat or cow.
Though each of the ethnic groups of Afghanistan has unique cultural traits, there are certain things that are common to national life like love for poetry. People recite poetry during all types of gatherings. Ability to compose and recite poetry is greatly adored in Afghan culture.