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Published on 27 Feb 2007 | over 11 years ago

Attan Afghan National Dance. Done by both men and female.


Attan is a traditional Afghan dance. It is said to be one of oldest Afghan Pagan dance, some identify Attan as an a religious ceremony of early Zoroastrians the Religion given birth in Afghan-Stan around 1200 BCE-1500 BCE in Sakastana or Helmand part of greater Kandahar . Most historians according to archaeological proves Zoroastrian religion named after Zorester have been early as 2000 BCE from Pakthra modern city of Mazar-e-sharif in Balkh.

Regardless the circular dance around fire as been curved in caves found in Takhar suggests the practice of such dance could be dated back to King Yama's celebration of Nowroz and warriors dancing and circling around the fire.

King Yama was the first Afghan king dating back to 3000-3500 BCE. Attan has been reported many times and recorded by Greeks as well as Kushans and later the Sassanians to have been practiced in modern day Afghanistan.

Attan was later modified into an Islamic dance to allow the dancers to get 'closer to God' this virtual Attan practised by many Afghan poets and mystics had even reached to corners of Turkey, Europe known as the Rumi Dance. It is performed usually with a Dhol, which is a double-headed barrel drum. The dance can be anywhere from 5 minute to 30 minutes long. There are many different kinds of Attan most famous are Kabuli, Paktiyaya (Done by Pakthiwals is more complex), Mazari, Kandahari, Sistani, Herati, Pashayi, and Nuristani.

Using swords during Attan was preferred but however banned. Swords can still be used in controlled environment, and it needs lots of practise.

NOTE: Attan is still practiced in following countries
Iran: specially in eastern Iran Zabol a former Afghan Town occupied by Qajar during British occupation of Afghanistan. Such as Torbat -e-Jam Other similar dance can also be traced such as Afghan related Tribes as well as Balochis and Mazandarians such as Raghse Afghanan-e-mazandarani, remains of 25000 Afghan Ghalja soldiers send to exile by Nader Shah Quli.

Pakistan: Afghan Race consist of 12% to 15.5 % of total Pakistani population-Including on going migration of Afghan refugees (Gov.Stat.PK 2007), if at least 8% of Pakistanis are Pashtu speakers (CIA Factbook 2008) which regardless makes it clear that Attan is well preserved inside Pakistan specially in NWFP and Balochistan.

India: Afghan people for thousands of years made India their home, in record from Indian State Ethnic Database over 33 million people claimed to be Afghan, this makes India a second home to Afghanistan. Many Business owned in Delhi as well as Transportation companies are Afghan owned. Many huge giant Indian Markets which are investing in Afghanistan are from "Pathan" owned. Pathan is indian name given to all Afghans (Pakhtyan as mentioned by Greek historian in 550 BCE refers to Ancient Pakhtia Province (1200 BCE-600 BCE) bordering hindus Vally. Bollywood as also open its doors to many Afghans seeking fame and reputation in the Entertainment industry. Famous Actress and Actors as well as singers and movie makes are Afghan in roots. Attan is practiced in few "Musalmani villages where bulk of Afghans have settled since time of Afghan Ghurid era.

UAE: Large number of Afghans mainly Pashtu speakers almost 80% from Pakistan have made UAE their home and afghan fully practice Attan in major functions, events and holidays.

Germany, USA and Australia are also second home to over thousands of Afghans. I am not sure about their number and population.
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