Information about culture of Afghanistan.
World Travel Guide  

Afghan culture


With over 5,000 years of history spanning its cultural and geographic landscape, Afghanistan is a rich and complex country. The Hindu Kush mountains divide the country into three sections, and inhabiting this both mountainous and fertile landscape are 6 main ethnic groups or tribes, as listed: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%. In terms of religion, Sunni Muslims comprise 80% of the population, and Shia Muslim 19%. The most common language spoken in Afghanistan is Pashto, spoken by over 50 % of the population, and then Dari, the official language. Turkic languages are also strongly present, such as Uzbek and Turkmen, with as many as 30 minor languages.

 In addition to Afghan folk and religious music, most music found in Afghanistan is similar to music of Muslim populations in other South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan. Known as Klasik music, this form of Afghan music uses Hindustani (from India), musical theories and terminology. The most common Afghan instruments are the Rubab (a lute like instrument considered by many to be the national instrument of Afghanistan) and the Dombura (a popular folk instrument that it both percussive and stringed).

Persian poetry is very important in Afghan culture; most Afghans own at least one collection of poetry. Some of the most famous Persian poets of the 10th and 15th centuries hail from modern-day Afghanistan, such as Jalal al-Din Muhammed, (aka Rumi) and Rabi'a Balkhi, the first recognized female Persion poet. Afghanistan is also known for its immense contributions to science and philosophy.

Afghanistan is also world-famous for its incredible woven goods. There are two main types of Afghan weaving: Turkoman and Beloutch. While both types produce similar goods, such as carpets, killims (rugs), and khourgine, (donkey bags), and are made by pastoral peoples with the same access to wool, each style comes from distinct ethnic origins and have distinct techniques in weave and color.

Afghan cooking chiefly includes national cereal crops such as wheat, maize and barley, and includes such staples as yogurt, whey, various types of nuts, and native vegetables and locally grown fruits, such as grapes. According to Afghan superstition, if flour spills, a guest is coming!


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