is a country in South West Asia. It is bordered by Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan on the north, China on the northeast,
Pakistan on the east and south and Iran on the West. Kabul is the
capital and Afghanistan’s largest city.
The people of
Afghanistan are made up of about 20 ethnic groups. The largest ethnic
groups are the Tajiks and Pashtuns who make up more than 60 percent of
the population. Pashtuns speak Pashto and live near the border with
Pakistan. Tajiks speak a language called Dari and live in the
northwestern region of the country. Despite broad differences in
language and culture among these 20 ethnic groups, the people share a
common religion, Islam.
Afghan dance and music are influenced by traditional folk
songs, ballads, and dances. Music is an important
part of every happy occasion, from picnics to wedding and family celebrations.
Music is also a way the Afghan people practice the ancient art of storytelling.
Telling traditional folktales, through music and the spoken word, is a highly
developed and much appreciated art form. The use of folklore has become the
thread that links Afghanistan’s rich past and turbulent present. Folktales
concern all parts of Afghan life and often teach traditional values, beliefs,
and music can be classified according to ethnic and geographic divisions. The
Pashtuns of the south have wild and virile dances, the Uzbeks of the north
practice dance forms similar to those of other Turkic Central Asian peoples, and the Heratis
have developed a style that reflects their rich past, when the city of Herat was the
cultural center of the Islamic world. Perhaps the best known dance is the Attan, the national dance which comes
from the southern Pashtun region. In performing the Attan, dancers form a large circle, clapping their hands and
rapidly moving their feet to the music’s rhythm