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KABUL: Afghanistan has utilized to UNESCO to have the nation’s historic attan dance registered as intangible cultural heritage.

The routine, which has turn into Afghanistan’s nationwide dance, was historically carried out by Pashtun tribes forward of battles or on particular events corresponding to weddings, the delivery of a kid, or nationwide holidays.
Mahbooba Babakarkhail, head of intangible cultural heritage on the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture, advised Arab News: “For keeping this intangible art immortal and for introducing it to the world, we are registering it with UNESCO. Attan is our national identity, unique to Afghanistan. It is our national cultural heritage.
And ministry spokesperson, Sabir Mohmand, said: “We have fulfilled all the criteria required for registering attan with the UNESCO and have high hopes that it will happen.”
Attan is a type of dance that dates again almost 3,000 years and was carried out throughout Zoroastrian spiritual ceremonies.
“During Zoroastrian King Yama’s rule, whose seat of power was in northern Afghanistan, attan was performed before his army went to war because they believed it would boost the warriors’ confidence and help them defeat the enemy,” Babakarkhail stated.
In a standard attan efficiency, between 30 and 50 dancers match their strikes to the beat of the dhol — a double-headed drum — whereas waving their scarves within the air. By synchronizing their steps with every beat of the dhol and pipe, the dancers type a circle and begin with sluggish steps.
In some elaborate strikes, seasoned dancers sequentially transfer their hips and arms from left to proper whereas twisting their wrists in the wrong way. Eventually, every dancer brings certainly one of their arms ahead, scooping it towards the middle earlier than clapping with the opposite hand. Gradually, the beats get quicker and quicker.
Each attan efficiency can final between 5 and 30 minutes, and it’s not unusual for dancers to faint as a result of bodily depth of the dance. In some instances, Babakarkhail added, attan performers dance for 2 to a few hours with no break.
She stated that regardless of there being no formal coaching within the artwork type, the custom had been stored alive within the nation “through local teachers who act as the head of the group for the dancers.”
Janat Gul, a shopkeeper from the southeastern Paktia area close to the border with Pakistan, advised Arab News: “There is no association or union for attan dancing. So, we do not have a list of contact details for the ages or number of dancers here.
“I know in some regions, people as old as 70 still perform attan. You need strong legs and especially good knees to be able to do so beyond 55 years old,” he stated.
There are a number of regional variations of attan, with the Mahsudi, Kabuli, Paktia or Khosti, Shenwari, Kandahari, Sistani, and Herati being the most well-liked ones.
In the Kabuli attan, males put on fits and ties, whereas girls placed on colourful attire and dance to fashionable music.
Attan is so in style and intrinsically Afghan that even the Taliban are stated to bop it regardless of banning performing arts throughout their rule from the mid-1990s till a US-led invasion in 2001.
Shafiqullah Mangal, a tribal chief from Khost province, stated: “Attan is our pride, history, and a tough but very sweet type of dance. Not many can perform attan easily. But once you learn the nuts and bolts of it, you will become addicted to attan.”

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