The culture of Afghanistan has been around for over two millenniums, tracing record to at least the time of the Achaemenid Empire in 500 BCE.Afghanistan translates to the "place of Afghans" or "land of the Afghans" in the nation's official languages, Pashto and Dari (Persian). It is mostly a tribal society with different regions of the country having their own separate tradition, reflecting the multi-cultural and multi-lingual character of the nation. In the southern and eastern region, as well as western Pakistan which was historically part of Afghanistan, the Pashtun people live according to the Pashtun cultureby following Pashtunwali, which is an ancient lifestyle that is still preserved until today. The northern and central regions of Afghanistan are culturally Tajik,Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Aimak. The western region of Afghanistan has a mixture of both Pashtuns and Tajiks, Some of the non-Pashtuns who live in close proximity with Pashtuns have adopted Pashtunwali in a process called Pashtunization (or Afghanization).
Afghanistan has been the main crossroads for Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, and has influenced its culture. Besides being devoutedMuslims, the people of Afghanistan are generally very shy and private by nature.
Art and Music
Local Art has spanned many centuries. One of the most famous kinds is the Gandhara art between the 1st and 7th century based on Greco-Buddhist art. Since the 1900s, Afghanistan began to use Western techniques in art. Afghanistan's art was originally almost entirely done by men but recently women are entering the arts programs at Kabul University. Art is largely centered at the Kabul Museum and the National Art Gallery of Afghanistan located in Kabul.
Traditionally, only men have been involved in theater acting. Recently, in theater arts women have begun to take center stage. Afghanistan holds the 47th largest club in the Middle East, the Jiffa Zayin, with a capacity of 180.
Other known forms of art in the country are Music and Poetry. The art of making carpets has been prominent for centuries. Afghanistan is known for making beautiful oriental rugs. The Afghan carpet has certain prints that make them unique to Afghanistan.
Since the 1980s, Afghanistan has witnessed several wars so music has been suppressed and recording for outsiders minimal. During the 1990s, the Taliban government banned instrumental music and much public music-making. Many musicians and singers continued to play their trade in the cities of other countries. Pakistani cities such as Peshawar,Karachi and Islamabad are important centers for the distribution of Afghan music. Kabul has long been the regional cultural capital, but outsiders have tended to focus on the cities of Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif with its Qataghaani style. Lyrics across the country are typically in both Dari (Persian) and Pashto. Hindi songs from Bollywood films are also very popular in Afghanistan.
Poetry in Afghanistan has long been a cultural tradition and passion. Historically, poetry written in the Persian language has been dominant, although in modern times, poetry in Pashto and Turkic languages are becoming more recognized. Some notable early Pashto poets are Khushal Khan Khattak, Rahman Baba, Nazo Tokhi, and a number of others.
Afghanistan have had many men and women poets throughout its history but due to cultural conflicts and wars the women poets have been hidden. Today, there are some established very young Afghan women poets such as Ms. Sajia Alaha Ahrar, known as Ms. Alaha, who is currently a sophomore at the University of Mary Washington in the United States. In April 2010, she wrote a poem entitled "Desire for World's Peace" with English translation.
The region has made major contributions to the world, architecture. UNESCO has acknowledged Afghanistan's role by declaring the Minaret of Jam and the Valley of Bamiyan, home of the famousBuddhas destroyed by the Taliban, World Heritage Sites.
Other examples of universally important contributions to architecture may be found in Herat, Mazari Sharif and Ghazni.
Afghanistan has a wide varying landscape allowing for many different crops. Afghan food is largely based upon cereals like wheat, maize, barley and rice, which are the nation's chief crops. Afghanistan is well known for its grapes.
- Popular Afghan dishes: Palao (Traditional Rice dish)
Shorba (Afghan Soup)
Mantu (Meat dumplings)
Baunjan (cooked Eggplant w/Potatoes and Tomatoes)
Bendee/Baumya (cooked Okra w/Potatoes and Tomatoes)
Aush (hand made Noodles)
Bolani (Afghan Flat Bread or Crêpe)
Shor-Nakhod (Chick Peas w/special toppings)
Naan (Afghan Bread)
Gosh Feel (Pastries)
Shir Berinj (Rice Pudding)
Kadu Bouranee (Sweet Pumpkins)